Niger State Government has been charged to prioritise the placement of nutrition interventions to avert the increasing rate of stunting and wasting in the state. This call was made when the State Committee on Food and Nutrition supported by the Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) paid advocacy visits to some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in MINNA recently.
While calling for increase and release of funds, the group complained that low priorities and low budget allocation are given to issues of nutrition in the state. According to the State Chairman, Committee on Food and Nutrition, Hajia Ramatu Umar, “Acute stunting and wasting are the biggest challenges we have in Niger. They are alarming and we must fight to address them so the figures can drop as fast as possible.
“The rate of stunting in Niger is 37 per cent and it is very alarming. We are trying our best to see that in the next three years they are stopped. “We need timely release of allocated funds; establishment of Nutrition Information System; priority placement for nutrition services across all Primary Health Centers (PHCs)”.
She also disclosed that, there is the need for the state to consider its workforce, adding that “we are looking at how it will be in the next 20 years” She added, “We have over 21,000 cases of children below two years in Mashegu and Mariga Local Government areas with stunting and wasting”. CS-SUNN also commended the government for the provision of boreholes at the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) sites strengthening collaboration for effective implementation of nutrition activities.
The commissioners at various times assured of their commitments, adding that there is the urgent need to remedy the embarrassing situation. Commissioner for Water Resources and Dams Development, Yusuf Suleiman said, “We will sit and go through the challenges so that we can push for the timely release of funds as soon as possible. Together we will support the CS-SUNN to achieve results.”