CS-SUNN Harps for the Creation of a Nutrition Department, Cash Backing for MDAs
By: Femi Mustapha
The Civil Society – Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has advocated for the establishment of the nutrition department in Kaduna Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).
A steering committee member of CS-SUNN, Mr. Silas Ideva, asserted this during an advocacy visit to some MDAs in Kaduna on August 16, 2023.
According to him, there should be a creation of a budget line for the department to be established, increased funding for nutrition, timely allocation, and release of funds in relevant ministries and MDAs for nutrition-specific and sensitive interventions.
The advocacy, in collaboration with the State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN), aims to get Kaduna State MDAs to key into not just having a department, but a nutrition department in line with the Federal Government’s law.
Speaking at the Ministry of Agriculture, the Programme Officer of CS-SUNN, Mr. Kunle Ishola, said the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, had approved the establishment of Nutrition Departments in line with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies at both the Federal and State levels.
He, therefore, said it would not be out of practice if Kaduna goes in that same direction. He also called for prompt releases and cash backing of nutrition budgets in the ministries visited.
Responding, Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Murtala Dabo, expressed his excitement over CS-SUNN’s concern about malnutrition cases in the state.
Dabo said the Ministry of Agriculture is key in the fight against malnutrition and assured improved budget performance for nutrition in the ministry.
The commissioner, who differed on the idea of creating a nutrition department in the ministry, said it is not about the department but about performance, and he is set to ensure upward performance and timely release of funds.
At the Ministry of Education, the team called for the promotion of nutrition education and resuscitation of school farms and gardens in all public schools, saying gardens and nutrition education were long-term interventions toward promoting good nutrition practices.
In his response, the Director of Planning in the ministry, Salisu Baba Lawal, said with the increase in FAAC allocation to the state, he is very optimistic that there is going to be high performance in the nutrition budget.
He said the ministry has already sensitized teachers on nutrition as it relates to students, stressing that zone two teachers have already undergone the training, remaining zone one and three, which would be done when school resumes.
He called on the SCFN to look into the issue of food poisoning, especially the use of chemicals to ripen fruits.
CS-SUNN’s Mr. Ishola, in his response, thanked the director for his contribution to nutrition issues in the state, right from his days in the Planning and Budget Commission, praying that he would continue that support.
Members of the team include Deputy Director (Development Aid Corporation) Planning and Budget Commission, Mrs. Priscilla Dariya; and Programme/M&E Assistant, Alive and Thrive, Ms. Victoria Adams; PO, CS-SUNN, Hope Ikani, and TO, CS-SUNN, Kingsley Ohah.