Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has advocated for the implementation of the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN) which was approved by the National Council on Health in 2014.
The Project Director –CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka stated this at a 3 day capacity building and field visit with Health Editors and Reporters in Kaduna, on Health/Nutrition Challenges and Funding Gaps to promote effective reportage of health and nutrition issues at the national and focal states.
According to Mrs Eluaka Nigeria had a National Plan of Action that was not fully implemented due to poor funding & lack of understanding of roles of different players.
On challenges of malnutrition,she said “It is however evident that inadequate funding and monitoring of appropriated funds, poor infant and
young child feeding practices, high disease burden, limited access to nutritious food, vitamin and mineral
deficiencies are some factors that contribute to the prevalence of child malnutrition in Nigeria.”
The National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS-20~3) data shows that of the total number of under-s
Nigerian Children, 39% are stunted, 23% are underweight, ~4% are wasted and ~4% of infants are born
with low birth weight. More so, Malnutrition further accounts for 4S% of the annual under-s deaths in
“There is poor coordination and lack of effective health leadership, especially at the LGA level.”There is gross inequity in the distribution of health facilities and health personnel. Shortages of drugs remain a problem as well as dearth of equipment, especially at the PHC level”she said
In a presentation,on Nutrition Situation in Niger state, Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency (NSPHCDA ) Nutrition Focal Person Hajiya Amina Isah, observed that 38% (409,993 )of children in Niger state are stunted ,while 6.1% (65,815) of children are wasted (thin for their height) more susceptible to illness and 10 times more likely to die than normal children.
“A greater proportion of the children in this category die and contribute to the under-5 mortality rate reported in the state. Their treatment is of high priority to save their lives.”she said.
Hajiya Isah stressed the need for government to take the lead for the implementation of high impact nutrition specific interventions to attract external support for scaling up nutrition.
“The State and LGAs should ensure budgetary allocation with prompt release of funds for implementation and sustainability of Nutrition activities,”And there is need to recruit more skilled nutritionists.”she added.