A Media Engagement has said that COVID-19 has deepened poverty situation, and by implication worsening the malnutrition situation in Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria.
It therefore advised the state government to increase investment in nutrition and facilitate timely releases, cash backing and utilization of allocated nutrition funds for outlined activities at the state and local level.
These are part of the Communique issued at the end of a one-day media engagement held in Kaduna on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding organized by the Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) under the SUN Movement Pooled Fund Window II,
The eight point Communique also stressed the need for signing and implementation of the State Multi sectorial Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (KDMSPAN) and other nutrition policy documents is fundamental in overcoming malnutrition as well as poverty.
” Poor nutrition impedes cognitive and physical development, with underlying impact on economic potentiality of the state. Data from World bank reveals that under nutrition can decreases GDP by 3-7% (up to 11%) – [World Bank 2005]. Hence a multisectoral approach is required in addressing it.
“Continuous evidence-based advocacy for increased investment by domestic resources for Nutrition intervention should be actively embarked up on by the CSOs and the media.
“Establishment and functionality of Local Government Areas Committee on Food and Nutrition should be enhanced in line with the State policy on food and nutrition.
” Scale-up of high impact Nutrition specific and Nutrition sensitive interventions especially in high burdened and Hard to Reach LGAs and communities should be appropriately targeted and delivered.
“The media is one of the strategic partners for increasing nutrition salience and creating awareness in the state and at the community level. Capacity building activities and trainings should be facilitated for them to enhance their skills on investigative journalism that increases nutrition reportage.
The Communique which was signed by the Coordinator CS-SUNN Kaduna State, Silas Ideva also highlighted the background and made observations – :
Malnutrition has remained a problem of public health concern across Nigeria, thus posing challenges to the development of children and the economic potential of Nigeria and Kaduna State in particular. Despite significant improvement recorded in the state nutrition programmes in the last five years, the state remained among the list of 10 states with disturbing nutrition indices (Stunting rate 48.1%, 2018 NDHS). The recent Pandemic on COVID 19 has further compounded this situation by deepening the morbidity of malnutrition in Kaduna State. SUN Movement Pooled Fund is a source of resources for funding innovative projects to support multi-sectoral stakeholder platforms in SUN Countries. The goal is to increase the effectiveness and impact of national efforts to end malnutrition in all its forms. It hopes to improve the delivery of multi-sectoral nutrition activities that impact nutrition outcomes for nutritionally vulnerable groups including women, girls, and adolescents, as well communities at the local level.
The media engagement was, therefore, organized by Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) to enlist the support of media in promoting good nutrition practice and policy implementation with focus on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding (MIYCF) in Kaduna State. The objectives of the engagement are; to increase awareness of nutrition issues in the state among working media practitioners, mobilize media to increase and sustain coverage of nutrition issues.
Participants were drawn from print, electronic and online media organizations, civil society organizations, relevant government organization; State Planning and Budget Commission, State Primary Health Care Development Agency, and development partners working on nutrition in the state; Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria – a World Bank supported nutrition program, UNICEF, Alive & Thrive and Save the Children International.
After an intensive discussion and review of the malnutrition situation and ongoing intervention in Kaduna State, participants appreciated the good will, commitment of government and partners in Kaduna State, towards stemming the tide of malnutrition in the state which include among other services:
· High impact and Low cost intervention on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) interventions have been established in Kaduna State; IYCF is being implemented in 12 LGAs out of 23 LGAs of the state. While Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) intervention is ongoing in 15 LGAs, with 77 out-patient therapeutic program (OTP) sites covering 77 wards in the fifteen LGAs. The Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP) has also scaled up 20 more sites in four local government areas of Kagarko, Kudan, Jemma’a and Ikara LGAs of the state.
· Integrated service delivery at some PHCs and Secondary facilities for women and children (immunization, ANC and Nutrition) are still being offered with modified client- flow arrangements in the context of COVID-19
· Established Community structures like the State Committee and the Local Government Committee on Food and Nutrition and partnership with CSOs which has strengthened monitoring of Nutrition Service delivery.
· There is a Kaduna State Strategy for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (2019-2023) in place which encourages early initiation and breastfeeding from birth to six months of age, complementary feeding from six months of age, and breast feeding in the context of HIV. The strategic goal is to ensure optimal nutrition of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and children aged zero to five years of age and prevent malnutrition among vulnerable groups (by 2021, 70% of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women have access to nutrition intervention in the state).
· However, the engagement further observed that in the light of unrelenting commitment of the state in containing the menace of malnutrition, several factors are contributing to the disturbing indices of malnutrition confronting the state. The 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey, shows a rate of 48.1%, 4.8%, and 22.1% for Stunting, Wasting and underweight respectively, while 2018 NNHS, is at 27.1%, 5.4%, 22.2% for Stunting, Wasting and Underweight respectively in Kaduna state. Such factors contributing to the negative indices include;
· Inadequate budgetary allocation for sensitive and specific nutrition intervention with Low utilization of available budget lines (slow releases and cash backing of allocates funds);
· Weak implementation of relevant nutrition policy document e.g though the State Nutrition Policy has been signed, it is yet to be printed and duly disseminated; the Kaduna State Multisectorial Strategic Plan of Action on Food and Nutrition (KDMSPAN), is yet to be signed as at time of this engagement;
· COVID-19 Lock down impact on under nutrition;
· Underlying factors such as poor maternal nutrition, poor infant and young child feeding practices, inadequate health services, and limited access to nutritious foods contribute to moderate stunting rate of 48.1% (NDHS 2018);
· Adequate food intake and healthy nutritional practices is the “foundation blocks” for healthy and productive nation;
· The scourge of malnutrition, manifesting as under-nutrition, over-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, is severe among infants, children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women as seen in the indices indicated above;
· There is limited coverage of most nutrition actions for key target groups with a number of high-impact nutrition actions not implemented in some LGAs within Kaduna State;
” Low media engagement and reportage based on investigative journalism on issues around malnutrition in the state”.