Nutrition stakeholders call for
By Ahmed Ahmed
Nutrition stakeholders in Bauchi state including the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and journalists have advocated for a more consistent budgetary allocation to improve nutrition and tackle severe acute malnutrition (SAM) prevalent among children.
They made the call at a workshop to train CSOs and journalists on budget tracking and utilisation organised by the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH) on Monday in Bauchi.
Speaking during the training, Mrs Abigail Hardo, the Executive Director of Aid-Connect for Development, an NGO, urged government to salvage SAM in the state by consistently allocating more budget line to child nutrition in the state.
She urged the state government to put in place a Specific Strategic Plan of Action for nutrition which should be implemented with utmost commitment.
Hardo pointed out that inadequate funding is the impediment to the implementation of nutrition interventions aimed at enhancing child nutrition.
She also urged the government to put in place sustainable budget lines for nutrition and ensure timely cash backing for interventions around “Micronutrient powder”.
According to her, the training would help to build the capacity of members of CSOs and journalists in tracking budget and utilisation.
Also, Mrs Comfort Attah, the Executive Director of the Attah Sisters Helping Hand Foundation stressed the need for the government to increase budgetary allocations to nutrition in addition to timely release of funds meant for maternal, infant and young children’s feeding.
She further emphasised the need for mass sensitisation and awareness creation on promotion of adequate infant and young child feeding practices as a means of improving food supplement for victims of SAM.
On her part, Mrs Bula Afsa of NTA Bauchi, said a lot needed to be done to ensure that government places premium greater investment in the supply of the food supplement while collaborating with development partners to address the scourge of SAM among the children.
He advised mothers to learn good feeding practices, good personal hygiene and feed children with fortified fruits, vegetables and food, saying that this would go a long way towards reduction of incidents of stunting and weight loss common with infants and young persons in the state.
The General Manager Albarka FM radio Bauch,Alhaji Dauda Ciroma, called on the government to provide basic packages for nutrition services in all the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the state.
A resource person, Mr Kenneth Okoineme said the training was aimed at strengthening the capacity of participants with modern concepts in budget analysis and economy.
He urged the participants to strive at all times to make the state government accountable with conviction that it is important to fund nutrition among children in order to manage and prevent SAM.
The ISMPH programme manager, Mr Solomon Dogo, urged the participants to discharge the responsibility of sensitising the government and educating the the citizens on the scourge of SAM.
He also called on the participants to make good use of the knowledge acquired at the training to make a greater impact on the relevant stakeholders regarding investment in good nutrition aimed at saving children from needless deaths in the state.