UNICEF, CIFF to give free Treatment to 279,542 malnourished children in Kaduna State
By Zainab Tanimu
Kaduna, North-West, NIGERIA
With the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Children Investment Foundation Fund’s (CIFF) intervention to support the Kaduna state government with free treatment for about 279,542 severe acute malnourished children in the state, a bright future many say awaits this category of children.
UNICEF Chief of Nutrition, Simeon Nanama while on an assessment visit to Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) site at Primary Health Care, Jaji, Igabi local government area of Kaduna State, disclosed this commitment.
He noted that such children with severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) problem if not treated have the likelihood of dying 12 times than healthy children.
Nanama stressed on the need for increased intervention with focus on treatment of affected children to save them from avoidable death.
He further disclosed that UNICEF in collaboration with CIFF is working in Nigeria to increase SAM health facilities for the treatment of affected children. CIIF, a United Kingdom-based philanthropic organization collaborates with other organizations around the world to improve the survival of children.
The goal of the organization he explained, “is to ensure that treatment is available for majority of children affected with the disease, maintain high quality of treatment and ensure ownership and investment by local government areas in the programme.
Speaking, UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, Chinwe…. said that the number of children suffering from SAM had increased from 271,400 in 2017 to 279,542 as at end of April 2018.
While appreciating the state’s commitment over the years in implementing nutrition policies and interventions, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, Dr Zakari Adam, commended Kaduna state for mobilizing domestic resources for financing nutrition interventions especially procurement of Ready to use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) used for the treatment of SAM.
He urged the government to increase their funding level to make RUTF available to sustain Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) services, as partners funding alone he said cannot sustain the programme.
“CIFF have been working in collaboration with UNICEF to scale up access to SAM treatment in Nigeria since 2014 and had so far spent about 60 million U.S. dollars, “Adam said.
The wife of the Kaduna State Governor and Chairperson, Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP) Hajiya Ummi El-Rufai while thanking UNICEF and CIFF for their support explained *that 28 SAM treatment facilities are available in five LGAs, while 18 LGAs, representing 78 per cent of 23 the LGAs in the state are still without treatment facilities.
About 17,981 malnourished children according to her were admitted in the facilities with 80 per cent of them successfully cured using RUTF.
The sum of N750 million she added was spent between 2016 and 2017 to treat affected children.
While on a courtesy call to the governor to advocate for the release of more funds to fight the dreaded disease the leader of CIFF team, Mr Jonathan Oates, commending Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s efforts in fighting the menace said his team was impressed with what is going on in the treatment centers and were overwhelmed with the turnout to access services.
Oates pledged to support the state government efforts with 100 per cent of whatever amount the government released for nutrition intervention.
Responding, El-Rufa’I acknowledged that the crisis of malnutrition still persist in the state in spite of efforts and progress recorded so far.
Governor El-Rufai in his response had assured UNICEF and CIFF to do whatever is needful in addressing the menace, particularly in the area of funding saying, the crisis of malnutrition still persist in the state in spite of efforts and progress that has been recorded.