By Philip Yatai

Kaduna State Government and its nutrition partners, on Wednesday, developed strategies to strengthen result-based nutrition intervention, to address the scourge of malnutrition in the state.

Permanent Secretary, Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), Alhaji Bashir Muhammad, said in Kaduna at the nutrition partners’ coordination and review meeting that the move was to accelerate results in addressing malnutrition in the state.

Muhammad, who is also the Chairperson of the State Committee on Food and Nutrition, expressed optimism toward achieving the goal of reducing malnutrition among maternal, adolescent, infant and young children in the state.

He commended the partners for supporting the state to address the scourge of malnutrition among women, adolescents and children under five years in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the partners include: United Nations Children’s Fund, Save the Children International, Alive and Thrive (A&T), Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ANRiN) and Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN).

Others are: National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Kaduna Polytechnic among others.

He said that the review meeting provided a platform to review progress and challenges as well as re-strategise for effective and cost-effective interventions that would provide the needed results.

“We want to see stronger working synergy and collaboration among the nutrition partners and between the partners and the state government, to achieve better results,” he said.

The permanent secretary thanked all the partners for supporting nutrition activities to reduce the burden of malnutrition among women, adolescents, infants and young children in the state.

Director, Development Aid Coordination, PBC, Mr Linda Yakubu, said that the main goal of the coordination meeting was to sustain coordinated efforts toward reducing malnutrition in the state.

“The meeting was also organised to receive reports on the achievements and challenges faced in the second quarter and planned activities for 2022.

“We also want to share experience and innovative ideas that would improve nutrition programming and identify emerging opportunities that will accelerate the scaling up of nutrition interventions in the state,” she said.

Also speaking, the Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, said that the fund was supporting the state in the delivery of preventive and curative nutrition intervention.

Ezeife said that the support was under early childhood nutrition, nutrition for school-age children adolescents and women and care for children with severe acute malnutrition.

According to her, UNICEF also supports child and maternal nutrition in emergencies as well as knowledge, advocacy, partnership and governance for nutrition.

Also speaking, the State Team Lead, A&T, Mrs Sarah Kwasu, said that the group was currently implementing a five-year grant – Accelerating the Scale of Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) – in Nigeria.

Kwasu said that the project was being implemented in Kaduna and six other states to enhance child health, development outcomes and save lives through a sustainable programme of optimum MIYCN.

Similarly, the CS-SUNN coordinator in the state, Ms Jessica Bartholomew, reiterated its continued support for effective preventive intervention in the state.

Project Coordinator of ANRiN, Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, said that the project was designed to increase utilisation of quality and cost-effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children under five years in the state.

Muhammad-Idris, who was represented by the Nutrition Specialist, ANRiN, Hajiya Hauwa Usman, said that the project had so far reached over 2.3 million target beneficiaries from July 2021 to June 2022 at community level.