Health sector stakeholders in Gombe State have raised alarm over the rising cases of severe and acute malnutrition, especially among women and children in the state.
At a one-day validation meeting organized by the Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Gombe State chapter, the stakeholders said malnutrition has been dangerously on the rise in the state due to little or no government funding of nutrition activities.
The validation meeting involved stakeholders such as the permanent secretaries of the state ministries of economic planning, women affairs, and chairmen of the state House of Assembly committees on health and appropriation.
Others are the representative of the ministry of agriculture, science and technology, budget office, civil society organisations, and other coalitions in the state who reviewed the trend analysis on nutrition in the state from 2015 to 2018 as well as proffered solutions or ways forward.
According to the Gombe State Coordinator of CS-SUNN, Comfort Mukollo, “there hasn’t been any improvement. The indices have been going up, as far as malnutrition is concerned, and it is really worrisome, hence the analysis and the need for the meeting”.
She said the meeting looked at how CS-SUNN can intervene, adding that the pool fund project which the group is currently undertaking is more of advocacy.
“What we want to change, based on this, is going to be more of rigorous advocacy and luckily, since the state administration is rounding up, the governorship candidates have made commitments in the health sector and nutrition as well”.
She said what the CS-SUNN and other CSO’s are going to do is to take them up on their commitment and track them, using their media component.
“The indices of malnutrition in Gombe State are so high to an unacceptable level. We at CS-SUNN are going to do a different thing this time around. We will make sure we sit up with the stakeholders or those that are involved in the approval and the release of funds for nutrition activities in the state,” she stated.
A civil society activist and Gombe State chairman of MNCH Coalition, Alhassan Yahaya, said the Gombe situation is so alarming and has been increasing day by day.
According to him, “the data of severe malnutrition from January 2017 to December 2017 compared with the data from January 2018 to October 2018 is almost one and a half of the data of January 2017 to December 2017, which clearly shows that the issue is bedevilling”.
He said Gombe State has two types of malnutrition: acute and severe malnutrition, which, if not addressed urgently, the state will have children who cannot make meaningful contributions to national development in the nearest future.
He is said the CSOs are therefore appealing to all government and relevant stakeholders, agencies and non-governmental agencies to come to the aid of Gombe State because the state has become the headquarters of malnutrition.
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