Stakeholders in the nutrition sector has emphasized the need for government to make realistic commitments that will aid in ending malnutrition in Nigeria.
They made the disclosure at the end of a two days stakeholders meeting ahead of the national response for nutrition for growth summit in Tokyo, Japan.
The Executive Secretary of Civil Society, Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria(CS-SUNN), Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, urged Nigerian leaders that will be attending the Tokyo summit to make commitments that have the SMART acronym variable.
“What we are doing now is that we are coming together to articulate commitments that our leaders who would attend the fourth coming meeting will make at the end of the year. The commitments must be SMART, that is Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.They should specify the criteria so that at the end of the day when they have made the commitment, we come back, and we are able to track what we have done, to see how far we have gone towards implementing the commitment that our leaders have made”.
In the same vein, she noted that there should be adequate budget line for nutrition, both at the state and national level.
” Presently, we have a national multi-sectoral plan of action for nutrition, and there are efforts to develop multi-sectoral annual plan of action for the various sectors that contribute to nutrition in Nigeria. The efforts are geared towards ensuring that each of the sectors have budget lines for nutrition. It will also ensure that the funds are released as at when due, and also ensure proper implementation”.
The Permanent secretary Niger State Planning Commission, Mrs Ramatu Umar, said the state government is ensuring that all sectors involved in the implementation of the nutrition line of action, provide all the budgetary allocation required for the state.
“We coordinate and ensure that the allocation are accessed and utilized accordingly. We also participate in the development of of multi-sectoral plans in the state. We have up to five years multi-sectoral plan where the MDAs draw their annual plan of action in the state, so we ensure that the plan aligns with the five year multi-sectoral plans we have in place, and we ensure that it is implemented”.
She advised the MDAs to utilize the resources meant for nutrition judiciously.
The Project Manager Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS- SUNN) Mr Okorokwo Sunday, called for effective synergy among stakeholders in the nutrition sector to end malnutrition in the country.
According to him, nutrition should be an essential service at the primary health care centres, and the commodities for nutrition should be accessible at the grassroots.
” Even though we are making progress in terms of nutrition. The burden is still far off, and there is need to round up our funding, and bring about effective coordination in the country. We need to build synergy among all the sectors.”
He commended the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, for devoting time and commitments to see to it that Nigeria combat and overcome the challenges of malnutrition.He said the Vice President has shown so much commitments, by leading the path to ensure that national multi-sectoral plan of action is finalised.