Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government, on Thursday, begun the developing a sustainability plan for the Management of Acute Malnutrition, CMAM, in the state, following the exit of Children Investment Foundation Fund (CIIF) from the programme.
UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, Mrs Chinwe Eziefe, explained that the CMAM programme was jointly managed by Kaduna state government and UNICEF, with support from CIIF.
Eziefe said at a one-day meeting in Kaduna, organised to disseminate the exit strategy and sustainability plan for the 11 CMAM sites in the state that the programme must continue despite CIIF exit.
She said that the collaboration between UNICEF, CIIF and the state government were in the areas of human resource development and commodity procurement – Ready to use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) used in curing malnourished children.
She explained that CIIF, through UNICE, supported the state government with 100 per cent of any amount the government provided for CMAM intervention, adding that the CIIF-supported programme has ended on December 31, 2018. She stressed further that the programme must be sustained to continue to give malnourished children a chance of survival.
“We are here today with all relevant stakeholders to discuss the exit of CIIF support and how Kaduna state will effectively manage the programme, from human resources, logistic and procurement of commodity,” she said.
She said that UNICEF would continue to support the programme in capacity building, monitoring and other areas, adding that stakeholders must at the end of the meeting come up with a good sustainability plan.
Earlier, Mr Ummi El-Rufai, who is chairperson for Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP), represented by the KADENAP Programme Manager, Dr Zainab Idris, noted that malnutrition was largely responsible for infant and under-five years mortality.
Mrs El-Rufai described adequate nutrition as key to child survival, development and participation, adding that the all relevant stakeholders must support the fight against malnutrition in the state.
She commended UNICEF, CIIF and other development partners for supporting the implementation of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition in the state, designed to save severe malnourished children from dying.
According to her, the government will intensify efforts towards preventing and managing cases of malnutrition through the provision of needed resources to effectively manage the CMAM centres.
Also speaking, Malam Isa Ibrahim of Save the Children International described the meeting as critical in generating commitment from relevant stakeholders to sustain the CMAM programme.
“We have seen the result and the impact of the CMAM programme on our malnourished children.
“Now that CIIF support has ended, we want the Kaduna state government to not only increase budgetary allocation for nutrition intervention, but cash-backed for interventions.
“Currently, three out 10 children in Kaduna state are malnourished and, unfortunately, Primary Healthcare Development Agency (PHCDA) – the key government agency handling the issue of malnutrition – does not have budget line for nutrition,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the establishment of a state Nutrition Development Agency to specifically address the problem of malnutrition in the state.
Executive Secretary for PHCDA, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said that although government and partners interventions have recorded some progress over the years, there was still much to be done.
Balarabe, who was represented by the agency’s Director, Primary Healthcare Services, Dr. Neyu Iliyasu, stressed the need for stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the CMAM programme in the state.
The meeting was attended by local government chairmen, state legislators as well as officials of relevant ministries, department and agencies of the state and local government areas.