By Muhammad Auwal
The Acting Director of Budget of Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission, Malam Idris Suleiman, has promised to support the creation of budget lines for nutrition intervention in relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the state.
Suleiman made the commitment at the at a two-day Health and Nutrition Budget Meeting in Abuja on Wednesday for officials of nutrition line MDAs from Kaduna, Nasarawa and Niger States.
The meeting was organised by Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Alive and Thrive (FHI360), and Save the Children International (SCI) to push for improving nutrition funding.
The director, who acknowledged the absence of specific nutrition budget in most relevant MDAs, noted that the budget line was critical to winning the fight against malnutrition.
“Although, we have budget lines for specific and sensitive nutrition interventions in two MDAs and our Local Government Areas (LGAs), there is the need to scale up to other relevant MDAs.
“PBC will support all line MDAs in creating the needed budget lines in the 2020 budget,” he assured.
The state’s Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Hauwa Usman, pointed out that there was no specific budget line for nutrition intervention in the state’s Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Hajiya Hauwa also identified delayed and sometimes non-cash backing of approved funds, particularly at LGAs for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), Community Management of Acute Malnutrition and other nutrition interventions.
“We equally do not have required nutritionists in our primary health centres, but plan is on the way to recruit at least 18 nutritionists and gradually increase the number to provide quality nutrition services.
“But in spite of the challenges, we are currently implementing IYCF in 12 LGAs and CMAM in 11 LGAs along with other support from development partners and civil society organisations.
“For example, the state government with support from United Nations Children’s Fund has spent N750 million in 2016 on procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the treatment of malnourished children.
“Another N100 million was also released in 2018 to procure additional RUTF, while N6.25 million worth of drugs and medicines was procured for out-patient therapeutic programme,” she said.
Newsmen reports that nutrition partners in the state have embarked on advocacy visits to heads of all line MDAs to push for the creation of nutrition budget line.