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UNICEF Lauds Kaduna State Govt. for Improving Nutrition Indices

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30 April 2021 8:49 AM GMT
UNICEF Lauds Kaduna State Govt. for Improving Nutrition Indices
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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday commended the Kaduna State Government for improving the indices of malnutrition among children under five years in the state. Dr Zakari Adam, the Chief of Field Officer, UNICEF, Kaduna, made the commendation at a one-day Policy Dialogue on the State Nutrition Policy, organised by the Planning and […]

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday commended the Kaduna State Government for improving the indices of malnutrition among children under five years in the state.

Dr Zakari Adam, the Chief of Field Officer, UNICEF, Kaduna, made the commendation at a one-day Policy Dialogue on the State Nutrition Policy, organised by the Planning and Budget Commission (PBC).

Supreme reports that the policy dialogue had the theme “Emerging Opportunities and Innovative Financing Options for Nutrition Interventions”.

Adam, who was represented by the Nutrition Specialist, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, pointed out that the government had been working hard to improve the nutrition indices among children in the state.

“For instance, stunting which has slightly dropped from 56.6 per cent to 48.1 per cent between 2013 and 2018, according to the National Demographic and Health Survey.

“Low birth weight also dropped from 36.1 per cent to 17.2 per cent; wasting from 41.7 per cent to 4.8 per cent and underweight from 57.6 per cent to 22.1 per cent.

“However, this still means that four out of every 10 children zero to 69 months in the state are stunted.

“The policy dialogue will, therefore, provide avenues for stakeholders to put heads together and come up with initiative to reduce and improve all indices of malnutrition in the state,” he said.

The officer said that the progress, if maintained and improved upon, would significantly improve the nutrition and wellbeing of children and women of childbearing age, including pregnant women in the state.

He said that UNICEF would continue to support the government to deliver cost effective interventions that would ensure maximum result on investment.

Providing an overview of the State Nutrition Policy, Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, the Project Coordinator, Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria, said that much needed to be done in spite of the progress being recorded.

Muhammad-Idris said that the nutrition policy targeted to reduce stunting rate by 20 per cent, law birth weight by 15 per cent, and wasting by 10 per cent.

She added that the policy also planned to reduce anaemia in women of reproductive age by 50 per cent and increase exclusive breastfeeding rates in the first six months of life to at least 50 per cent.

“It also hoped to address comprehensive legislation for marketing Breast Milk Substitute, legislate on maternity leave and food fortification, among other issues.

“Beside the nutrition policy, there is also the Kaduna State Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition Strategy and Kaduna Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition, 2020 to 2024, and other related policies across,” she said.

She stressed the need to reinforce all efforts to realise set goals and strategic objectives set in nutrition policies at the federal and state levels.

She also noted the need to address the challenges affecting effective implementation of nutrition interventions.

“All actors and stakeholders need to fulfill commitments and the government to allocate and ensure timely release of funds for the full implementation of policies and strategic plans.

“There is also the need to improve coordination, management, accountability and transparency in the use of resources for nutrition interventions,” she advised.

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