By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Wife of Kaduna State Governor and Chairperson of the Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP), Mrs. Aisha Ummi Garba el-Rufai, has urged the media to partner the agency in fighting against malnutrition.
She made the appeal in opening address at a two-day training workshop for members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Friday, in Zaria.
“I’d like to urge you – our friends in the media – to please, use your expertise; join hands with KADENAP in the fight against malnutrition. It is said that the media can either help you or break you; in this case, we want you to help us in this fight.
“We invite you to disseminate appropriate information that will not only boost nutritional activities but shape public attitude towards improved positive living and hygienic practices in our communities,” she said.
She lamented that the general public is regularly exposed to poor information in the media on what to eat to promote health, particularly articles referring to junks, leading to obesity.
The KADENAP Chairperson and wife to the Kaduna of State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, who disclosed this, said that the emergency/task of the agency has been divided into three phases.
“The first phase is to urgently treat malnourished children, especially those who are dying under the age of five years. Second phase is to handle malnourished children above the age of five and mothers, who always suffer from malnutrition; and the third phase is to bring about an attitudinal change in the daily living practices of our people so that malnutrition is tackled in holistic and sustainable manner,” she emphasized.
In a goodwill message, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Mrs. Chinwe Eze, described the partnership in fighting malnutrition with the NUJ as a welcome development.
She said that being important members of the society with the influence they command, no advocacy can be successful without the media.
Eze assured NUJ that UNICEF’s doors remain open to partnerships that would further lead to better fight against malnutrition.
Also in a goodwill message, “Save the Children” Nutrition Advocacy Adviser, Isah Ibrahim, lamented that states were not allocating adequate funds for fighting malnutrition.
He said even though, Kaduna State Government allocated only 0.6 per cent of its budget in 2016 to malnutrition, it remains a pacesetter in the fight against the scourge. Ibrahim appealed to other states to approve “dedicated budgets” to fight malnutrition.