Nutrition society wants 6 months maternity leave, improved funding




The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has urged Kaduna state government to improve nutrition policy implementation, increase nutrition funding and extend maternity leave to six months to address rising malnutrition. Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, who commended Governor Nasir el-Rufai and Kaduna state government for budgeting over N980 million for nutrition in 2017 to tackle malnutrition, stressed that more effort was required to bringing the development to an end. Speaking while addressing a CSSUNN media engagement in Kaduna, she said despite increased spending by the state government, acute malnutrition is rising and urged the media to step up reportage of nutrition issues to attract policy makers and stakeholders to curb the trend in the state. “CS-SUNN recognises that Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP), chaired by the wife of the governor, Hajiya Ummi El-Rufai is focused on operationalising concrete actions towards reversing the disturbing statistics on malnutrition in the state. “CS-SUNN calls on the state government to finalize the state specific national multi-sectoral plan of action for nutrition and improve implementation of existing nutrition plans. We also urge the government to increase funding allocation for nutrition while ensuring timely releases, effective and efficient utilization of nutrition funds. “Government needs to ensure clarity in budgeting for nutrition to include preventive interventions such as promoting optimal infant and young child feeding, staple food fortification and maternal nutrition programmes. CS-SUNN tasks the state government on extension of maternity leave to six months as is in some other states in Nigeria. “Data from CS-SUNN’s scorecard in 2016 showed that Kaduna state achieved 63 per cent in the implementation of the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN), a 37.5 per cent improvement from implementation percent recorded in 2015. “However, available statistics indicate a rising trend in the state’s malnutrition burden, which continues to be a key contributor to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, poor cognitive development and increased severity of diseases adversely affecting under-5 children in the state. “This is above the WHO acceptable level and calls for emergency action. Wasting or acute malnutrition is a condition whereby a child is too thin for his height due to long-term or current undernutrition or illness. Stunting in children under five, a condition of physical and intellectual impairment that has lasting negative effects, is defined by low height for age,” she said

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