UNICEF supports Kaduna with over 3m vitamin A capsules

The United Nations Children (UNICEF) has supported Kaduna State with more than three million Vitamin A capsules for distribution during the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) week.

Dr Zakari Adam, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, announced this on Thursday in Zaria, at the opening of a two-day `Quarterly Coordination and Review’ meeting on food and nutrition.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting, with Nutrition Focal Persons in the 23 local government areas of the state, was organised by Planning and Budget Commission (PBC) with support from UNICEF.

Adam, who was represented by the Nutrition Specialist, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, said that the vitamin A capsules would be distributed to children, aged six to 59 months, to boost their nutrition and health status.

He explained that the three million capsules would cover all children six to 59 months old in the state during the MNCH week – June 21 to June 25.

Adam added that UNICEF would also support the training of about 9,000 volunteers to mobilise women and caregivers to health to access the integrated primary healthcare services.

“UNICEF will continue to support the state government with technical support and funds when available to improve the nutrition and health status of children, women and adolescents.

“This meeting very crucial for us to review progress from quarterly plans and re-strategise on how to better promote adequate Infant and Young Child Feeding and Management of Acute Malnutrition in communities.

“These services are critical to child survival and development so that they will grow to full potential and contribute to development,’’ he said.

The Deputy Director, Development Aid Coordination, PBC, Mrs Priscilla Dariya, said that the objective of the meeting was to review nutrition activities in the state.

Dariya said that it was also to document the barriers and opportunities for optimal nutrition practices and improve capacity of members on how to implement nutrition programmes.

“The meeting was also organised to facilitate coordination of nutrition activities in local government areas and encourage behavioural change towards positive living,” she said.

Mr Umar Bambale, Project Manager, Kaduna State Nutrition Action Plan, thanked UNICEF for supporting the state the problem of malnutrition.

Bambale said that the state government was doing its to improve the indices of malnutrition among children under five years and women in the state.

Also speaking, Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, the Project Coordinator, World Bank-funded Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ANRiN), said that ANRiN would continue to support ongoing efforts malnutrition in the state.

Represented by Hajiya Hauwa Usman, Nutrition Specialist, ANRiN, the coordinator said that two non-state actors had been contracted to provide nutrition and health services at the facility and level.

She said that the project would introduce for the first time, micronutrients powder supplement for children under five years in the state.

Malam Sani Hassan of the Nutrition of Nigeria, described nutrition as crucial to survival and development of children, stressing that billions spent on immunisation will be useless on a malnourished child. (NAN)