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Nasarawa launches plan to tackle malnutrition as Governor Sule assures of adequate funding

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By our reporter

Governor Abdullahi Sule has launched the second Nasarawa State Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action of Food and Nutrition (NSMPFAN) 2023-2028, with a vow to provide adequate funding towards addressing challenges associated with malnutrition.

Governor Sule launched the five-year action plan at a ceremony which held at the conference hall of the Ministry for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, in Lafia on Friday.

Recall that the first NSMPFAN was launched in 2021 and lasted till 2023.

The Governor said his administration has established nutrition department in twelve line ministries, departments and agencies, with associated budgetary allocation, for full implementation of the nutritional strategies in line with the multisectoral plan in a bid to reduce the menace of child malnutrition in the state.

He restated the commitment of the state government to strengthening the nutritional value chain in order to ensure a healthy society.

“As you are aware, nutrition is critical to health and wellbeing as well as human development. It is also related to improving infant child and maternal health, a strong immune system, safer pregnancy, and child birth, among others,” he said.

He argued that the significance of nutrition in human development cannot be overemphasized, considering the fact that nutrition plays a significant role in child development through exhaustive breastfeeding.

Governor Sule however expressed concern over the 2021 mixed indicator cluster survey which shows that malnutrition still accounts for about 11 percent of the global burden of diseases and contributes to about one-third of all children’s deaths globally.

According to the report, Nasarawa State accounts for 7. 7 percent underweight among children in Nigeria, with prevalence of chronic under nutrition at 1.4 percent among under 5 children while 2.7 percent of women between 14 and 49 have severe acute malnutrition.

“With this kind of data, you can understand why this event is extremely important to us in Nasarawa State because we can not afford to be discussing these kinds of numbers publicly. We have to work together to ensure that we address them,” he stated.

With the coming onboard fully of all the 12 line ministries, the Governor assured of adequate funding in order to translate the action plan into tangible results.

He also expressed the willingness of his administration to access the one-to-one matching fund provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The Governor thereafter, charged the steering committee for food and nutrition to live above board in the discharge of their responsibility.

“Let me re-echo our commitment to continue to support the efforts of the Federal Government through the creation of enabling environment for nutritional activities that will support and empower mothers and caregivers for adequate nutrition for children in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda,” he added.

He commended development partners for sustaining their support and collaboration in the collective commitment to reduce the menace of malnutrition in the state, assuring them that Nasarawa State would continue to create the enabling environment not only to improve on the nutrition of the general population but the realization of SDGS goal number two of attaining zero hunger by the year 3030.

Earlier, in her welcome address, Nasarawa State Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Planning, Hon. Munirat Abdullahi, described the Governor Sule administration as a government that is after the development of the people.

While congratulating the state for achieving the feat and by according food and nutrition their right of place being critical parts of growth and development, the finance Commissioner equally appreciated UNICEF for continously providing the needed technical support to achieve the goals of improving the food and nutrition indices.

In a goodwill message, Sunday Okoronkwo, representative of the Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), commended the Governor for launching a comprehensive plan that addresses the most basic aspects of food security and nutrition.

Okoronkwo extolled the determination behind the formulation of a strategy that is exclusive, evidence based and responding to the needs of the people in Nasarawa State.

“This is admirable and inspiring. The launch of this plan signifies a critical step forward in ensuring that every citizen of Nasarawa State has access to adequate nutrition which is essential for community development, basic health and overall well-being.

“This is a testament to the state’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals particularly goal two, zero hunger and goal three, good health and wellbeing,” he said.

The CS-SUNN drawing from experience while implementing the 2021 plan, however appealed to Governor Sule on the need to provide adequate funds to ensure the full implementation of this new plan.

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