By Philip Yatai

The Kaduna State Project Implementation Unit, Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ANRiN) has signed a contract with e-Health Africa, to deliver integrated basic package nutrition and adolescent health services in the state.

The Project Coordinator, Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, who signed on behalf of ANRiN in Kaduna on Tuesday, said that the contract would end by December 2023.

Muhammad-Idris said that signing of the contract marked the commencement of the delivery of integrated Basic Package of Nutrition Services (BPNS) and Adolescent Health Services (AHS) at community level.

She said that e-Health Africa, an NGO had demonstrated technical and financial capability and emerged first out of the seven non-state actors that bid for the contract in Kaduna State.

She said that services at facility level had commenced in 16 health facilities in four Local Government Areas (LGAs) and scaled up to 100 facilities in 12 LGAs.

“The support was provided through Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Board and it is expected that the scale up will continue until all PHCs in the 255 wards are covered,” she said.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, said that ANRiN was a World Bank-funded project being implemented in 12 states in the country.

Mohammed-Baloni said that the project objective was to increase the utilisation of quality, cost effective nutrition services among pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children under five year within the state.

She said that e-Health Africa would be responsible for half of the state’s LGAs comprising Kaduna South, Kaduna North, Ikara, Chikun. Kajuru, Kachia and Jaba,

According to her, others include Zangon Kataf, Jema’a, Sanga, Kagarko and Kaura LGAs with an estimated population of over three million.

“One of the services to be delivered is increased knowledge of mothers and caregivers of children from zero to 23 months of age on improved behaviours related to maternal, infant and young child feeding practices.

“e-Health Africa will also provide micro nutrient powders to children from six to 23 months to improve the quality of complementary feeding.

“It will also provide iron-folic acid tablets to pregnant women during pregnancy and counseling during ante-natal care sessions.

“e-Health will equally provide intermittent preventive treatment for malaria during ante-natal care to pregnant women,” she said.

She said that the NGO would also provide zinc and oral re-hydration solution for treatment of diarrhea among children from six to 59 months.

She said that the organisation would provide semi-annual vitamin A supplementation among children from six to 59 months of age and semi-annual de-worming among children from 12 to 59 months.

“This is a performance-based contracting project, and we believe e-Health Africa with her vast experience will deliver the best interventions in Kaduna State.

“Our expectation at the end of the day is to improve the nutritional status of our children and women,” the commissioner said.

On his part, Mr Atef Fawaz, the Deputy Director, Programme Operations in Nigeria, e-Health Africa, expressed excitement to have been chosen to deliver the basic nutrition and health services in Kaduna State.

“We will work with existing structures in the state to deliver quality services as specified in the contract.

“I assure you that at the end of the contract period, e-Health will leave a significant impact on the target group, while the structures will be empowered to deliver better services in the future,” Fawaz said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ANRiN had in April signed a similar contract with the Society for Family Health (SFH).

According to the contract, SFH is responsible for Makarfi, Kubau, Kauru, Kudan, Zaria, Lere, Giwa, Igabi, Soba, Birnin Gwari and Sabon Gari local government areas with an estimated population of 3.1 million. (NAN)