By Asmau Ahmad
The Gombe State Government has released N50 million to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) as counterpart funding for the nutrition programme in the state.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning, Mr Ayuba Stephen told newsmen in Gombe on Friday that the money was paid to UNICEF account on Wednesday.
He said the release of the fund was part of government commitment even within the limited resources to meet the basic needs of citizens.
He said that the money was the state government contribution to UNICEF for Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RTF) for the malnourished children.
According to Stephen, the fund will also go a long way in reducing the rate of malnourished children in the state which he described as alarming.
Alhaji Alhassan Yahya, the state Chairman, Maternal Newborn Child Health (MNCH) coalition, a group of professionals advocating for improvement in maternal and child health issues, appreciated the government for the release of the fund.
Yahya attributed the development to the series of advocacy carried out to various stakeholders in the state which now yielded a positive result.
He said the coalition is appealing to the governor-elect, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, to sustain the programme in the interest of children in the state.
The chairman noted that the state account for 40 per cent of malnourished children in the country following the influx of people from neighbouring states as a result of insurgency, hence the need to tackle the issue.
“Gombe has a high number of severe and acute malnourished children, the state account for 40 per cent of malnourished children in the country because of the influx of people from the neighbouring state as a result of insurgency.
“If care is not taken our children in Gombe will grow up with low IQ hence the need to tackle the problem of malnutrition with all seriousness,” he said.