By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Kaduna state Primary Health Development Agency (KDSPHA), in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), at weekend, held a one-day Task Force Meeting with Stakeholders on Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), and Community Infant and Young Child Feeding Practice (C-CIYF).
The meeting was part of measures to improve on efforts being made to change the nutrition status of children and women in Kaduna State from its high level malnourishment to globally accepted level.
The essence of the meeting, according to Chinwe Ezeife, who is UNICEF’s Nutrition Specialist in Kaduna Field Office, “is to ensure that members of the taskforce played their roles effectively in as they deliver quality CMAM and C-CIYF services in their various institutions.”
Ezeife stressed that the meeting also geared at mobilizing and sensitizing stakeholders on supervision, participation and ownership of the programme, to share with stakeholders, achievement recorded in their communities, and also collect data from Nutrition Focal Persons (NFPs) , to identify gaps and proffer solutions.
Officer In-Charge of UNICEF Kaduna Office, Dr. Idris Baba, who was represented by Adamu Ndagi, in his goodwill message, noted that despite compelling evidence that breastfeeding and improved complementary feeding contribute to improved child-survival and development and overall nutritional status of children, Nigeria is slow in its improvement.
As a result, he said, Nigeria is still among the world’s highest child mortality rates and stunting prevalence as well as some of the lowest rates of recommended IYCF indicators.
While calling on participants to the play the roles expected of them, Dr. Baba reiterates UNICEF’s continues commitment in working with the government towards improving the nutrition outcomes, especially of the vulnerable group, i.e., women and children.
In his remarks, Executive Secretary, KDSPHA, Muhammad Auwal Waziri, pointed out that nutrition is the third prong priority of the state government, in addition to Universal Health Coverage and Immunization.
He therefore, charged participants to come up with workable solutions on ways to improve the quality of the CMAM (and C-CIYF) implementation, and to also find a way of reducing the issue of defaulters to its barest minimum.
Reacting to the reason, while people default in coming back to health facilities after they have been registered in various communities, District Head of Dura in Jabba Local Government Area (LGA), Iliya Bako, blamed focal persons for not contacting traditional rulers in the communities when such intervention programmes are ongoing.
He said reporting noncompliance to traditional rulers for intervention will go a long way in addressing the issue of defaulters.
The traditional rulers noted that health departments are the live-wire of all LGAs, but regretted that funding has been the major challenge militating against the survival of LGAs.
At least130 participants drawn from 13 LGAs of Birni-Gwari, Chikun, Igabi, Jaba, Jama’a, Kachia, Kajuru, Kaduna South, Kaduna North, Lere, Makarfi, Zangon-Kataf and Zaria, including traditional rulers, were in attendance.