N11.1bn Investment to Address Malnutrition in Gombe, a Worthy Spending, Says UNICEF

Segun Awofadeji in Gombe

The Bauchi Field Office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has described the investment of over N11.1billion in tackling malnutrition in the next four years by the Gombe State Government as a worthy spending.

Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office, Dr. Tushar Rane, was speaking in his remarks at the launching/dissemination of Gombe State Nutrition Policy and Cost Multi Sectorial Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan of Action for the next four years held in Gombe yesterday.

The strategic plan estimates that the interventions across the state would require a public investment of N11,169,423,741.16 with an average annual public investment cost estimated of N2,035,892,400.00 over the next four years (2023 to 2027).

Represented by Philomena Irene, nutrition specialist, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, Rane said the Cost Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan would promote diets, services and practices that support optimal nutrition, growth and development for all children, adolescents, and women.

According to him, “The Food and Nutrition Policy we are launching today will guide Gombe State to address the hindrances to food and nutrition security from individual, household, community, local government to state levels.

“It steers the identification, design, and implementation of intervention activities across relevant sectors.”

Children in Gombe State are experiencing chronic food poverty. About 30.7 percent of newborns are exclusively breastfed; only 22.5 percent of children aged six to 23 months in Gombe receive a minimum acceptable diet and only 8.4 percent receive minimum dietary diversity.

Also, more than 50 percent of women and children are anemic.

Rane said:  “These statistics is available in the 2021 MICS.

“We envisage that the effective implementation of this policy can contribute to alleviating these nutrition gaps in the state. Hence, at UNICEF, we delightfully supported the development of this policy from the scratch.

“UNICEF mobilised financial and technical support in terms of providing data on nutrition indices and support the costing of the policy.

“UNICEF facilitated the engagement of external experts and its own technical experts, whose synergy with the state’s technical team ensured the birthing of this policy and cost multi-sectoral plan of action.”

In his remark shortly after launching the food and nutrition policy and multi-sectoral plan of action 2023-2027 document, the Gombe State Deputy Governor, Dr. Manasseh Daniel Jatau, said launching of the Policy and Action Plan is a clear realisation by the government that whatever that is to stand the test of time must be on a very solid foundation.

He said the implementation of the Policy Plan of Action is a task that must be carried out effectively for the optimal nutritional status of residents of Gombe State, within the time frame of 2023-2027.

He noted that even when 2023 is gone already, “we must all put hands on deck to avoid a situation where set dates and targets by concerned authorities are not met.”

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Alhaji Salihu Baba-Alkali, said the cost plan allows the guiding principles and appropriate strategic options for efficient implementations mechanism for nutrition intervention to address malnutrition in Gombe State.

Related Articles