Niger: Advocates against malnutrition call for action to address stunting, wasting in children

The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), has called on the Niger State Government to place a priority on nutrition interventions to reduce the rising tide of stunting and wasting among children in the state.

The group made the call during advocacy visits to some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on Wednesday in Minna.

It said the rate of stunting in Niger is 37percent and very alarming, hence, measures should be taken by the State to stop the trend in the next three years.

In her address, the State Chairman, Committee on Food and Nutrition, Hajia Ramaru Umar said that presently, there were over 21,000 cases of children below 2 years in Mashegu and Mariga local government areas with stunting and wasting as a result of malnutrition.

“Acute stunting and wasting are the biggest challenges we have in Niger. They are alarming and we must fight to address them so the figures can drop as fast as possible.

The CS-SUNN also decried low priorities and low budget allocation given to issues of nutrition in the state while also calling for an increase and timely release of funds for programs.

“We need the timely release of allocated funds; establishment of Nutrition Information System; priority placement for nutrition services across all Primary Health Centers (PHCs)”.

It also commended the Government for the provision of boreholes at CMAM and SAM sites and strengthening collaboration for effective implementation of nutrition activities.

The team visited Commissioners for Agriculture and Rural Development, Zakari Jinkatoro, Water Resources and Dams Development Yusuf Suleiman, Education represented by the Permanent Secretary, Abubakar Balarabe and the Executive Director, Niger state Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ibrahim Dangana.

The Commissioners at various times pledged commitments and assured the group of their readiness to help push for the timely release of funds to remedy the situation and achieve the desired results.