Lines Fuelling Malnutrition in Nigeria
Poor government’s budgetary allocation and non-release of funds to respective nutrition budget lines have been linked to the increasing spate of malnutrition in Nigeria.
The report, ‘National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition and Budget Analysis,’ released yesterday in Abuja maintained that lack of commitment are factors militating against efforts to curb malnutrition in the country.
The Project Director, Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Beatrice Eluaka, while aligning implementation of nutrition policies in Nigeria with the 2017 budget in Abuja yesterday, called on government at all levels to take nutrition serious by allocating enough funds to it in the budget and ensuring timely release.
According to a survey carried out by the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHD), about two out of five Nigerian children are stunted, with rate of stunting varying throughout the country ranging from 16 per cent in the South-east and 55 percent in the North-west.
It also indicated that about 70 per cent of children aged between 6 to 23 months are not receiving the minimum acceptable diet.
“We are advocating for budget plan for inclusion in the various sectoral ministries for it to be recognise that malnutrition is a multi-sectoral issue.
“Our policy makers say they have recognised the importance of nutrition as a developmental issue. Globally, the rate of stunting shows that children are malnourished in any country. We are recording a stunting rate of about 37 per cent,” Eluaka stated.
According to her, the situation means there is a problem with the rate at which the country is developing.
“That is why we are calling on government at every level to ensure that the beautiful policy on food and nutrition which we have developed as well as the accosted action plan for national strategic plan of action for nutrition is fully implemented,” CS-SUNN project manager noted.
The report stipulated that the survey carried in three states of Kaduna, Nasarawa and Niger found that budgetary provision for the states on nutrition programmes was low.
CS-SUNN consequently, called on Kaduna, Nasarawa and Niger States which were the focal areas of their report to increase funding to health sector and to make adequate provisions for the child and family health needs of the people in the 2017 budget.