The Kaduna State Government on Friday challenged the Nutrition Focal Persons in the 23 Local Government Areas on commitment to duty and improve the nutrition indices of the state.
Mrs Phoebe Yayi, the Permanent Secretary, Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), said this in Zaria at a two-day quarterly review meeting with the nutrition officers organised by the commission with support from UNICEF.
Yayi said the state and local governments were doing the best they could, adding that the nutrition focal persons must live up to expectations and change the nutrition narrative in their respective LGAs.
She said the malnutrition situation in the state was a reflection of the poor nutrition indices in the LGAs, noting that everyone must play his or her role to improve the situation.
“Nutrition is multi-sectoral as such; we all have a role to play toward improving the nutrition indices in the state so that our children will have a good start in life.
“Nutrition is everything and no nation will develop with a high population of malnourished children.
“Therefore, the nutrition focal person must work as a team; learn from each other and support one another so that we will all succeed for the sake of our children.,” she said.
Yayi said not all nutrition intervention required funding; stressing that much could be achieved by changing dietary attitude and behaviours with little or no funding.
She also called on the focal persons to join the campaign against feeding babies with fast food and breast milk substitutes, while promoting consumption of locally prepared foods and exclusive breastfeeding.
Mr George Adams, the Assistant State Nutrition Officer said that the practice of early initiation of breast milk between January and May was less than the number of births in all the LGAs.
Adams, while presenting the report on maternal, infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN), disclosed that only four LGAs recorded 50 per cent infants put to breast milk within an hour of birth.
He identified the LGAs as Soba, 53 per cent; Kajuru, 51 per cent and Jaba and Makarfi recorded 50 per cent, while Jema’a recorded the least performance at 34 per cent.
On exclusive breastfeeding, Adams said that only six LGAs recorded less than 50 per cent, namely Kagarko, Igabi, Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Kachia and Soba.
He said that four local governments recorded more than 10 per cent low birth weight, with Lere and Birnin Gwari recording 17.6 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.
“Kauru and Kubau LGAs recorded 10.3 per cent each, while Zangon Kataf LGA recorded the lowest rate at 1.4 per cent followed by Jaba with 2.0 per cent,” he said.
Adams said that a total of 178,677 parents and caregivers were counselled on IYCN in the 23 LGAs within the period.
Mrs Priscilla Dariya, the Deputy Director, Development Aid Coordination of PBC, had explained at the opening of the meeting that the objective was to review nutrition activities in the state.
Dariya said that the meeting was also to document barriers and opportunities for optimal nutrition practices and improve capacity of members on how to implement nutrition programmes.