The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on Sunday commended Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State for approving the increase in nutrition budget line from N188 million to N688 million.
The CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, Ms Jessica Bartholomew, made the commendation in Kaduna while reacting to El-Rufai’s approval for the upward review of the nutrition budget line by N500 million.
The Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, Malam Salisu Lawal, had announced the approval during the First Quarter Nutrition Partners Coordination Meeting on Thursday.
Bartholomew told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the development was an indication of the El-Rufai led-administration’s responsiveness to the survival, growth and development of children in the state.
She said that the additional fund was a kindle of hope for the 18,355 children, representing 1.1 per cent of the estimated 1.8 million under five years suffering from severe acute malnutrition in the state.
She said that CS-SUNN, along with other development partners such as UNICEF, Save the Children International as well as Alive and Thrive (Fhi 360), have been advocating for increased funding of the nutrition sector.
“I remember we raised concern during the 2021 Draft Budget Public Townhall Meeting that the N188 million budget line provided under the Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP) was inadequate.
“We equally observed that beside the N188 million allocated for nutrition interventions, there was no specific budget line for procurement of RUTF.
“I was so excited when I heard that Gov. El-Rufai had approved the upward review of the allocation by N500 million.
“This is commendable considering the high number of SAM children that may die if adequate RUTF is not provided,” she said.
She, however, appealed to the state government for timely release and cash backing of the funds.
This, according to her, will ensure effective implementation of nutrition interventions that will not only treat malnourished children but prevent healthy children from becoming malnourished. (NAN)