By Oluwakemi Oladipo
Lagos – Stakeholders have called for increased investment in and budgeting for nutrition, to address issues surrounding it and improve the quality of life of women and children in the country.
They made the call after a two-day meeting organised by the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) in collaboration with Alive & Thrive and Save the Children International in Lagos .
The stakeholders, in a communique signed by the Chairman, Committee on Improved Nutrition Investment in the 2020 State Annual Budgets, Mr Salisu Mohammed –Member, Kano State House of Assembly — and other members, said that nutrition and its related consequences must be viewed as a developmental issue.
According to the communique, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday, the stakeholders are asking that five per cent of the national and states total budget should be allocated to nutrition programmes and activities.“All hands must be on deck and be proactive by evolving a workable budget estimate that could effectively address the issues.
“Research studies show that good nutrition in a child’s early years is linked to their health and academic performance in later years.“Without proper nutrition, a child’s ability to fight infections is compromised as malnutrition and infections potentiates each other in a vicious cycle especially in children and women.“Therefore, all stakeholders need to invest in nutrition activities in order to break this cycle and better the lots of children and women,” the communique read.
The stakeholders identified some challenges facing nutrition in the country such as absence of trained nutritionists in some states, especially at the primary healthcare level.
They urged states to recruit and deploy trained nutritionists to PHCs, while existing nutritionists should also be re-trained for optimal performance.“Focus should be placed on promoting and implementing the multi-sector strategy to provide a platform for holistic delivery of nutrition-specific and sensitive interventions in all States.“States should collaborate with local government areas towards ensuring that budgetary lines are created in the respective LGA budgets.
“Five per cent of the national and states total budget should be allocated to nutrition programmes and activities,” the communique read.Others who endorsed the communique include Mr Dalhatu Danladi, of the kano State Ministry of Budget and Planning; Mr Gbenga Obadare, from Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning; Mrs Elizabeth Akinbinu, of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; and Dr Chinyere Gift-Okorie, of Lagos State Ministry of Health.