By Mary Jalingo

Permanent Secretary, Niger State Ministry of Health, Dr. Mohammed Makusidi has assured citizens of government commitment in ensuring that nutrition which he noted as central to a healthy living is given adequate priority.

Dr. Mohammed Makusidi stated this during​ a five day workshop on finalization of Niger State Costed Nutrition Multi-Sectoral Action Plan (SNMAP) organized my State Planning Commission in collaboration with Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) held at Consort Luxury Suit, Abuja.

Dr. Makusidi said if the nutrition indices have not improved over the years, it means the strategy needs to change, adding that the state has declared a state of emergency in Mariga and Mashegu local government areas of the state, with the aim of ensuring that things improve.

He said it was worrisome that the state was not meeting up with implementation and said that they were ready to do things differently to mitigate the situation.

Speaking, Dr David Olayemi, Chairman CS-SUNN said based on what the world and Nigeria would like to see, the figure of stunting, wasting and underweight in the state was certainly not acceptable and that there was a need for urgent attention.

Dr. Olayemi said most parts of the country have been declared an emergency zone as far as malnutrition was concerned, noting that even though the country was bedeviled with so many problems but malnutrition he said is a serious problem as it is an indicator of a larger problem that need urgent attention.

He said the country has a lot of beautiful policies, documents and plans but how many of them have been implemented?

He said for the children of the state, the state must resolve to ensure that this particular efforts move the state forward by ensuring that the documents are not left on the shelf.

Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, UNICEF field officer Kaduna, commended the state for taking the bold step in the development and finalization of the state nutrition Multi-sectorial action plan and urged for it’s full implementation.

Mrs Ezeife said no pregnant woman should have a reason to be anemic in a state like Niger noting that the issue of malnutrition must be tackled by all sectors involved.

State Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Amina Isa said the major problem in the state was that of inadequate funding adding that nutrition does not need to share funds with other sectors as it’s funding should be given directly.

Hajiya Amina Isa said the state so far has ran out of RUTF and called for more commitment from local government chairmen.