ALEX UANGBAOJE, SokotoFollowing the continues increase in numbers of malnourished children in Nigeria especially in the Northern part of the country, Sokoto State government said it will soon start producing Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a drug used for treating malnutrition.
The State Commissioner for Health, Shehu Balarabe, disclosed this in Sokoto on Thursday in his remarks during the opening of “A Two-day Media Dialogue with media executives, organised by Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
He said the state government can no longer afford to continue to spend on the importation of the drugs which is produced from grandnut past, saying “we have been investing on Ready to Use therapeutic Food from South Africa and United States.
”What we’re trying to do in the state is to reverse that, let it be produce right here in Sokoto.
“RUTF is highly nutritious and is made from groundnut paste, we thank God, Dangote Is investing in the production of the drug here in Nigeria, so we commend him for that.
“This is the first step of boasting nutrition to have intelligent children. The State Government has also invested over N2billion on issue of water and the rest.”
Balarabe explained that if proper measures are taken, all that is needed in Nigeria for proper nutrition is available and will cost nothing. He added that “breastfeeding can save Nigeria In excess Of N300billion every year. Breastfeeding is part of nutrition and it’s free.”
Earlier, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, Sokoto Field Office, Paul Mudzongo charged the media to wake-up to their responsibilities by holding public officials accountable as they discharge their duties, so as to ensure transparency in the way they utilise funds allocated to children related issues.
He also urged the media to be in the front burner through their reportage in getting government committed to the fight against malnutrition in the country.
Mudzongo, advocates for a renewed commitment and immediate attention by governments at all levels in Nigeria to curb the trend of malnutrition by Adopting a comprehensive state, multi-sectoral nutrition strategic action.
“Ensure adequate funding: Timely release and appropriate use of 2016 Nutrition Budget line; Increasing the 2016 Nutrition Budget allocation; Fully integrate nutrition in revitalization of Primary Health Care;
“Step-by-step expectation what resources allows.; Comprehensive response treatment and expectation programmes; Established high land state multi-sectoral advisory committee on Food Nutrition to support the exiting State Food and Nutrition Committee. He said.