By Hajara Leman
Alhaji Ibrahim Buba, Chairman, Kwami Local Government Council of Gombe State, says his council will partner with traditional rulers to enhance awareness creation on child nutrition.
Buba stated this yesterday during a sensitisation exercise on Progressing Action on Resilient Systems for Nutrition through Innovation and Partnership (PARSNIPP), at Malam-Sidi, headquarters of the council.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisation was organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Gombe State Government.
PARSNIPP is a five-year nutrition action project beign implemented in Kwami, Dukku and Kaltungo local government areas of the state.
It was aimed at encouraging contributions to end child preventable deaths by strengthening the resilience of services, to treat and prevent child wasting in the face of climate and work.
Buba said the importance of nutrition could not be over-emphasised, hence, the need for proper nutrition of every child for healthy growth.
“We are going to engage our traditional leaders for massive sensitisation on the importance of child nutrition.
“Prevention of malnutrition in children will receive our support,” he said.
He commended the UNICEF for choosing Kwami to be among the participating LGAs for the project.
Mrs Ronas Amusa, Gombe State Nutrition Officer, said urgent actions were imperative to treat children with symptoms of malnutrition before it get to the stunting stage where many of them could not be revived.
Amusa stressed the need for the people of the state to support the government to enable it to tackle the malnutrition burden in the state.
She urged the state government to release funds for procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), to facilitate treatment of severely malnourished children.
“The last time the state had RUTF for the treatment of malnourished children was in October 2020.”
In a remark, Dr. Tushar Rane, UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office Bauchi, said there was high proportion of stunted and underweight children in the state.
Rane said that statistics of the National Demographic Health Survey indicated that 51.2 per cent of the Under-5 children were stunted and 26.9 per cent severely stunted in the state.
He said the proportion of the stunted children increased to 51.2 per cent in 2018 above 47.5 per cent in 2013.
The UNICEF official called for more collaborative efforts to correct the poor indices in the state.
“Kwami is the pioneer local government to begin the programme, UNICEF will provide technical support, while community participation will be key in the execution of the project, expected to be sustained for a longer period.
“Traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders such as Conditional Cash Transfer office, Ministies of Agriculture, Science, Technology and Innovation as well as the media will be involved,” he said.
Also speaking; Mrs Philomena Irene, UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, said the project focused at promoting prevention through the use of RUTF.
According to her, the project will encourage use of locally produced food in the treatment of malnutrition.
The project, she said, would also train health workers on proper counseling tips to enhance care and support services to mothers.
“It will also work with the state Ministry of Health, Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the state office of the Conditional Cash Transfer.
“There would be a one-to-one marching fund, where N50 million counterpart funding was expected from the state government for the procurement of RUTF, which would go along with the PARSNIP programme.
“Ward focal persons will also work in the communities and all the PHC facilities at ward levels,” she said. (NAN)