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CS-SUNN laments menace of malnutrition in children despite efforts

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By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi

Despite the achievements recorded in the fight against malnutrition, it has remained a concern to public health and threat to child survival, growth, and development in the country and Bauchi State.

The assertion was made by Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) which is is a non-governmental, non-profit making alliance, made up of organizations with a shared vision to transform Nigeria into a country where every citizen has food and is nutrition secured.

CS-SUNN stated that according to NNHS (2018) and NDHS (2018), the Bauchi State stunting rate is 46%, wasting is 9.5% while underweight is 28.2% and overweight is 0.5 % leading to the CS-SUNN inauguration in Bauchi in 2018.

Secretary of CS-SUNN in Bauchi state, Mrs Dabis Mwaike reflected on the
Partnership with international partners, the State committee for food and Nutrition, CS-SUNN members participated in the development of the Bauchi State Policy on Food and Nutrition, Multisectoral plan of Action for nutrition, among other policies and documents.

She added that through advocacy efforts a nutrition budget line has been created, Community mobilization and engagements in achieving nutrition goals done, Support of religious/traditional leaders in creating awareness for uptake of nutrition services also achieved while a strong collaboration with SCFN and State Primary Healthcare Development Agency was improved.

With support of partners and donors, CS-SUNN has been implementing both nutrition specific and sensitive interventions.

She stressed that Community structures (Mama2Mama, CHIPS) are effective in reaching communities with key nutrition messages and mobilizing communities for the uptake of nutrition services but they need motivation.

On Food Bank Concept, the concept has impacted positively as a measure to combating menace of malnutrition in the community of intervention evidence by recovery documented on the nutrition tracker.

The use of volunteers to drive the initiative, inclusive and go-coverage stressing that there is a need for more time as well as more CBVs to help reduce turn-around time for facility based and follow-up and alignment to the visits.

Holistic Approach involved adopting a comprehensive approach that addresses multiple needs of vulnerable populations, including education, healthcare, nutrition, and livelihoods, leads to more sustainable and impactful outcomes.

Also, Partnerships and Collaboration enhanced Collaborating with government agencies, NGOs, private sector actors, and community-based organizations allows for leveraging of resources, expertise, and networks to maximize impact and reach.

On Monitoring and Evaluation, there is Regular monitoring, evaluation, and learning processes enable project stakeholders to assess progress, identify gaps and challenges, and make informed decisions for program improvement and sustainability.

Different capacity building training such IPC-MIYCN, on the job coaching and mentoring during supportive supervision enhances the ability of frontline health workers to deliver optimal services as well as the willingness of the community leadership to own the process and project when involved in the activity implementation.
Achievements

The Challenges include inadequate funding despite having lots of initiatives and innovations but no funds, Lack of scalability of interventions, Lack of RUTF in the state and make referral complication, Tracking and facility revisit of identified SAM and MAM,
Shortage of human resources in some facilities.

Also, Inadequate follow up and monitoring by the LGA WASH Departments/ units due to irregular and inadequate financial supports from the LGA authorities and States, Inadequate understanding at all levels of the importance of sanitation and hygiene to public health, economy, and protection of the environment.

Resource Constraints, Limited funding and resources hinder the implementation and sustainability of projects, especially when trying to reach large numbers of beneficiaries over an extended period.

Logistical Issues: Operating in rural areas present logistical challenges such as poor infrastructure, limited access to transportation, and difficulty in reaching remote communities, which has affected the timely delivery of services and materials.

Healthcare Access: Providing healthcare services, including HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, in rural areas due to a lack of healthcare facilities, trained personnel, and medical supplies.

Gender Inequality Despite efforts to empower women, gender disparities in access to resources, decision-making power, and participation in economic activities is still exist, limiting the effectiveness of interventions.

Climate and Environmental Factors: Agriculture-focused projects face challenges related to climate variability, soil degradation, water scarcity, and pest infestations, affecting agricultural productivity and livelihoods.

Market Access: Enhancing market access for smallholder farmers is difficult due to limited infrastructure, lack of market information, and dominance of middlemen, which may prevent farmers from receiving fair prices for their produce.

Cultural norms/Beliefs and reluctance to accept changes, Inadequate or lack of some commodities or equipment at the health facilities.

CS-SUNN therefore recommended to facilitate grants for its members, coordinate joint proposal writing among member organizations, CBVs should reinforce following up with caregivers and the community on the importance of accessing care from the health facility.

Also, Workforce planning, training, and distribution of health care personnel by SPHCDA, To seek for more support from the LGA to sensitize and change negative perceptions and beliefs lingering on MIYCN by beneficiaries (HHs, Caregivers etc.).

To ensure that there is availability of commodities and consumables at the facilities especially IFA/MMS.

The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) is a non-governmental, non-profit making alliance, made up of organizations with a shared vision to transform Nigeria into a country where every citizen has food and is nutrition secured. CS-SUNN pursues this lofty goal by engaging government and non-state actors to raise awareness, sustain commitment and actions to effectively tackle under-nutrition in Nigeria.

The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria has been reflecting on its journey to curb Malnutrition in the country, its impact. In two days’, time, the event will be celebrated.

As a country the reflection has been on:
10 years of empowering communities, advocating for nutrition, and driving positive change across Nigeria.
10 years of impactful work and looking forward to even more food and nutrition secured Nigeria.

CS-SUNN has led Nigerian civil societies in partnership with government agencies, development partners, the media, and communities to implement nutrition interventions nation-wide.
Dedication to nutrition advocacy and action.

Donors and partners support, your commitments to improving nutrition in Nigeria inspires us.

Decade of impact in the fight against malnutrition in Nigeria, the story of nutrition policies, plans developments, improving funding for nutrition in Nigeria.

The importance of partnerships and community engagements in achieving nutrition goals.

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