The Kaduna State Government with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is set to treat 4,233 Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) children in the state following the procurement of N750m worth Read to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).
Malam Dauda Anchau, Quality Assurance Officer, Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP), made this known in Kaduna, during a Mid-Year Review meeting on the various interventions being implemented to better the lives of women and children in the state.
Anchau, during the mid-year meeting organized by UNICEF and the State Ministry of Budget, said that a total of 4,233 children were admitted in 23 SAM management health facilities and Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites in the state between January and May 2017.
According to him, CMAM sites have been scaled up from two local government areas to three local government areas, thus increasing access to CMAM services to 31,346 children in the state.
Whilst commending UNICEF for the strong advocacy that led to the establishment of KADENAP in January 2017, to implement immediate nutrition interventions in the state, Anchau stated that so far 2,672 have been cured, representing 83.2 per cent of the admitted cases.
On micro nutrients deficiency prevention through improve supplement intervention, he said that UNICEF has supplied the state government with 1,557,700 vitamin A capsules and eight million tablets of iron folate.
He added that the effort was to provide nutrient intervention during Maternal Neonatal and Children Health Week, to increase coverage for vitamin A from 85 per cent in December 2016 to 90 per cent in July 2017.
“The state government has approve N10 million for the exercise which would commence on July 15.
“Capacity of service providers has been built and the vitamin A and the iron folate have been supplied to all wards in the state.
“Persistent adherence to cultural norms and practices which has continued to antagonise optimal IYCF in the state will reduce,” he said
According to him, by 2018 the proportion of zero to three months old children optimally fed will increase to 50 per cent.
“This is because, there are 349 functional support groups in Kajuru and 45 in Zaria local government areas that counselled 8, 642 pregnant and lactating mothers on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF).
“Similarly, 14,280 care givers were reached with IYCF messages through support groups, ” he added.
The officer said that scaling up of CMAM sites from three to seven would be among key priority areas in 2018 to reach over 200,000 SAM children in the state.
He however, identify insecurity – communal clash, cattle rustling and kidnaping in some local government areas as major challenge, resulting to increase in households food insecurity and malnutrition.
Earlier, Mr Nawshad Ahmed, Programme and Planning Specialist, UNICEF Abuja, described the review meeting as very strategic in identifying achievements in the first six months and any adjustment that may be required for the remaining six months.
On his part, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi thanked UNICEF for all the supports in protecting and improving the lives of women and children in the state.
He added that the state was open for more partnership yo improve the lives of the people.