Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazak, Governor of Kwara has said henceforth under five children in the state will have access to nutrition-related treatments across the Primary Health Centres.
AbdulRazak who was represented by Prof Mamman Jubril, Secretary to the State Government(SSG), stated this on Wednesday in Ilorin, during the flagg-off Ceremony of Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project.
He lamented that about 238,171 out of every 696, 405 of under five years children in Kwara are stunted, adding that this is a development that is evidence of chronic malnutrition and a potent socio-economic threat to the state.
He observed that malnutrition in children and pregnant women is a major factor in maternal and child death.
“Stunted children are unable to contribute to growth of the society. The persistent increase in the rate of malnutrition in the country led the Federal Government of Nigeria to partner with the World Bank to come up with an intervention targeted at tackling malnutrition,” he said.
According to him, the ANRiN project is therefore a bold step to address malnutrition by increasing the utilisation of high quality and cost effective nutrition interventions among pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children under the age of five years.
He recalled that due to the unsavory condition of the health sector in the state, the government payed the sum of N232m as counterpart funding for Basic Health Care Provision Fund, Malaria-Free Kwara project, and ANRiN among other interventions programs.
He explained that the nutrition will include provision of micro nutrients powder, zinc, Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), iron and Felix acids tablets for pregnant women and lactating women.
Others he said are high calories food for malnourished children, vitamin A, malaria preventing drugs to pregnant women and, deworming of children, among other benefits.
Speakiing earlier at the occasion, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazak, wife of Governor AbdulRazak disclosed that the state government disbursed N50million for the National Nutrition Project, as counterpart funds which has been long overdue.
The Governor’s wife who was represented at the occasion by Mr Owolabi Razak, Chairman House Committee on Health, said that the project will cut across the 16 local government area of the state and would lead to improvement in the coverage and utilisation of quality and cost effective nutritional services in the state.
In her welcoming address, Dr Rhoda Ajiboye, Permanent Secretary, Kwara Ministry of Health, said the project will prevent further incidence of growth stunting through effective nutritional interventions among children below five years of age, pregnant women and adolescent girls among others.
In his speech, Dr Zakari Adams, Chief of United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), Field Office, Kaduna said that organisation will continue to assist the state government, in ensuring the menace of malnutrition is overcome.
He warned that one out of every five children in the country will die if nothing is done about malnutrition, adding that women and children are the ones bearing the brunt of the problem.
He however commended the Federal Government for striving to tackle the challenge of malnutrition in the country, however pointing out that the government alone can not shoulder the burden.
He advised that other stakeholders must put efforts to save lives and improve well-being of children across the country.