By Asma’u Ahmad
The Dangote Foundation on Wednesday said it would commit N36 billion to implement its malnutrition intervention plan in Nigeria from January 2018.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, who made the disclosure to newsmen in Kaduna, said 13 states would benefit from the intervention plan in the next five years. Youssoufou said the states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto and Zamfara.
She said the intervention was as a result of the foundation’s pledge during the 2017 Global Nutrition Summit in Italy to spend 100 million dollars toward improving nutrition among Nigerians. She added that the N36 billion was part of the pledge to reduce malnutrition by 60 per cent in the selected states.
Youssoufou, however, said the foundation would focus on six states namely Kano, Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Katsina and Kebbi in the first two years, before extending the intervention to the remaining seven states. She noted that without proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, children are less likely to survive childhood diseases like malaria and pneumonia.
According to her, 70 per cent of the fund would be expended to treat malnourished children using Ready to Use Therapeutic Food and other vitamins at Community Management of Acute Malnutrition Centres in the selected states. The official added that the remaining 30 per cent of the fund would go into sensitive interventions designed to prevent children from becoming malnourished.
“We will not just treat but also intervene at the level of the family so that parents could provide the needed nutritious meals to the family and prevent the possibility of treated children relapsing. “Our intervention is tagged `CMAM Plus,’ where we treat the child and support the parents with a means of generating income under our Livelihood Programme to provide the nutritious needs of their children,” she said.
Youssoufou said the livelihood programme would assist parents to engage in economic activities like poultry farming and animal rearing to support their families. The CEO described nutrition as the building blocks of life for children and crucial in building a healthy generation of developers.