The Kaduna State Government says it has treated no fewer than 12,251 malnourished children between January and August 2021.
The State Nutrition Officer, Mrs Ramatu Musa, disclosed this on Saturday in Zaria at the end of a two-day third quarter review meeting with Local Government Nutrition Focal Persons (NFPs).
Musa said that the figure was out of the 24,548 admitted at various Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites across the state.
She explained that out of the 24,548 children, 16,358 were new admissions, while 8,190 were spillover of untreated cases from 2020.
She also said that 46 children died from the deficiency condition within the period, indicating a significant reduction from the 124 deaths recorded between January and September of 2020.
She said that to manage the situation, government increased the number of local governments providing CMAM services from two in 2017 to 16 in 2021.
She added that the state currently had 82 Primary Health Centres providing outpatient therapeutic programmes to treat severe acute malnourished children with 17 secondary health facilities as stabilisation centres.
Mr Umar Bambale, the Project Manager, Kaduna State Nutrition Emergency Action Plan (KADENAP), said that the government and its partners were investing more on Community – Infant and Young Child Feeding (C-IYCF) practices.
Bambale noted that “C-IYCF is a preventive approach that promotes adequate child nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life.”
He said that so far, a total of 558 health care providers and 1,156 community volunteers were trained on C-IYCF services in 22 local government areas of the state, with only one outstanding area.
He also explained that through support groups, the community volunteers would educate and enlighten mothers and caregivers on optimal C-IYCF practices for a strong growth and healthy development of infants and young children.
“After educating the parents and caregivers, community volunteers who are linked to health facilities will mobilise the caregivers to demand for nutrition services in health centres and refer malnourished children for treatment.
“Also, 100 health facilities across the state are providing maternal, infant, and young child nutrition services, community maternal, infant and young child nutrition services are being provided at the 255 wards in the state”, he said.
Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, the Project Coordinator, Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ANRiN), explained that there was general improvement in the activities of the local government nutrition focal persons.
Muhammad-Idris noted that there was significant improvement in presentation of performance, challenges and issues that required advocacy, particularly funding.
“Malnutrition prevention activities in the local governments are also picking up with a lot of C-IYCF promotion activities being implemented by the nutrition focal persons.
Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, the Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, who supported the review meeting, also commended the NFPs for efforts in supporting the implementation of preventive and curative services in the local government areas.
“Lessons were learnt from their presentations, and we have discussed ways toward addressing key challenges and identified key priority areas for the 2022 Annual Operational Plan.
“However, delay in the release of approved funds had affected the implementation of some planned activities by the nutrition focal persons.