By Segun Awofadeji
As part of its determination to fight the scourge of Malnutrition in the country, the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH) has called on legislators to collaborate with the Media and Civil Society Organisations with a view to addressing challenges surrounding Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) currently on the rise in Nigeria.
Program Manager of ISMPH, Mr Solomon Dogo, made the appeal recently in Bauchi while making a presentation at a retreat organised for legislators from Gombe State held at Chartwell Hotel, Bauchi.
Mr. Dogo informed the Gombe state lawmakers that ISMPH and other partners had built the capacities of Media and CSOs in reporting issues bordering on nutrition and that a collaboration between them and the legislators would make things easier for the lawmakers as, according to him, information regarding malnutrition in their respective constituencies will be brought to them easily.
“When you are adequately briefed on the status of Nutrition by the Media and CSOs, it will assist you in making informed decisions towards the prevention and treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition in your respective constituencies.
The ISMPH representative also shared some of the experiences in a similar retreat organised for legislators from Jigawa State, where he disclosed that, “at the end of the retreat, having been presented with the alarming statistics as a result of severe acute malnutrition, the Jigawa lawmakers pledged the sum of N150 million from their constituency project funds for the procurement of RUTF, to complement government efforts in that direction.”
The ISMPH program manager said that he hoped at the end of the retreat there will be something concrete from the Gombe lawmakers, especially looking at the geopolitical position of the state, being part of the North East, is carrying the highest burden of malnutrition in country.
According to him, “donor agencies that were supplying RUTF are now withdrawing. State governments should now be the ones procuring the RUTF because that is the only treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition. So, adequate funding and releases for prevention and treatment of SAM should be among the priority lists of state governments”.