Report: Poor Funding of Budget Lines Fueling Malnutrition in Nigeria

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By Paul Obi in Abuja

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.

A report, “National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition and Budget Analysis”, released in Abuja, maintained that lack of commitment was a factor militating against efforts to curb malnutrition in the country.

Project Director, Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Beatrice Eluaka, stressed the need to align the implementation of nutrition policies in Nigeria with the 2017 budget, and called on government at all levels to take nutrition seriously by allocating enough funds to it in the budget and ensuring timely release of the money.

According to a survey carried out by the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHD), about two out of five Nigerian children are stunted, with the rate of stunting varying throughout the country between 16 percent in the South-East and 55 percent in the North-West.

It also indicated that about 70 percent of children aged between 6 and 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 percent”, Eluaka stated.

According to her, the situation means there is a problem with the
rate at which the country is developing.