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UNICEF lauds Gombe Govt. for investing N11.1bn on tackling malnutrition



The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended Gombe State Government for investing more than N11.1billion in efforts to tackle malnutrition in the state for the next four years.

Dr. Tushar Rane, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office, gave the commendation during the launching of Gombe State Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Food and Nutrition.

Represented by Mrs Philomina Irene, UNICEF Nutrition specialist, Rane said the Food and Nutrition Policy launched would guide Gombe State to address the hindrances to food and nutrition security from individual, household, community, local government to state levels.

He said the Costed Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan would promote diets, services, and practices that supported optimal nutrition, growth, and development for all children, adolescents, and women.

According to him, the strategic plan estimates that the interventions across the state will require a public investment of N11.169 billion, with an average annual public investment estimated of N2.035 billion over the next four years (2023-2027).

He explained that children in Gombe State were experiencing chronic food poverty, adding that only about 30.7 per cent of newborns were being exclusively breastfed, while only 22.5 per cent of children, aged six to 23 months in the state, were receiving a minimum acceptable diet.

According to him also, only 8.4 per cent receive minimum dietary diversity, while more than 50 per cent of women and children are anaemic.

These statistics, he said, were 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 supporting 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 costed multi-Sectoral plan of action,” he said.

Speaking shortly after launching the plan, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, said the plan was necessary and inevitable to arrest the current malnutrition state and its unpleasant consequences.

Yahaya said concerns raised by individuals and International Organisations such as UNICEF and the World Health Organisation on alarming rate of malnutrition l, had been documented, hence the need for collaborative efforts to stem it.

Represent by the Deputy Governor Mr. Manassah Jatau, the governor said: “Today’s launching showed the state government’s determination to ensure that Gombe keys into the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and also the national policy of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security under President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

“The 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.

In his address of welcome, Alhaji Salihu Baba-Alkali, Commissioner, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, said the cited plan allowed the guiding principles and appropriate strategic options for efficient implementation mechanisms for nutrition intervention in Gombe state.

He commended UNICEF Bauchi Field office, for its support to the state, in the area of review of Food and Nutrition 2023-2027 and the development of a multi sectorial Plan of Action and engagement of facilitators who were guiding the process.

Ms Jessica Bartholomew, Kaduna State coordinator of Civil Society -Scaling Up Nutrition, explained that the Multi-Sectoral plan had six priority areas.

Bartholomew listed the areas as; Food and Nutrition and Security, Enhancing care giving capacity, Enhancing provision of quality health services, improving capacity to address food and Nutrition security problem.

Others were raising awareness and understanding the problem of Malnutrition and Resource allocation for food and Nutrition.

She said the plan aimed at reducing the malnutrition rate of Gombe State, which stood at 52 per cent and was very disturbing.

“This plan is to ensure that after five years we can reduce to 18 per cent .

“We are hoping , with the support of the Governor of Gombe State, our stunting rate will drop to 18 per cent by 2027,” she said.

Hajara Leman

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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