By Bashir Bello
KATSINA – Recent nutrition survey indices have shown that Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM, is still on the increase in Katsina State and home state of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The indices as quoted by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC says Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS puts stunting in the state for the year 2017 at 35% while Oxford Policy Management, OPM on nutritional smart survey puts stunting in 58.0% in 2018 respectively.
It also put SAM at 4.1% for Children Under 5 Years in 2017 while in 2018 it’s 3.0% and Underweight, at 18.5% in 2017 while in 2018 it is 31.4% respectively.
CISLAC Programme Manager, Chioma Kanu who disclosed this during a one-day engagement with women and youth groups on prevention and treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition in the state, decried the figure which she said instead of decreasing it’s on the increase.
She rallied the support of women and youths in the state to join hands and lend their voices to tackle the ugly menace.
According to her, “it is unfortunate that we have this index in Katsina . It is surprising when we are not in war.
“We engage women and youths to help advance nutrition. We have engaged other critical stakeholders like the government, traditional leaders, the media and that is why we are engaging the women and youth groups.
“Should we fail to act now and lend our voice, things will be deteriorating. The time to act is now, to save our children from dying needless deaths.
“The women should create community awareness on the availability and use of Ready-To-Use-Therapeutic-Food, RUTF. Monitor and report stock out of RUTF to local authorities.
“Based on reports gathered from Primary Healthcare Centre, PHC, in Katsina, the women can dialogue with traditional institutions – engage them and let them know the severity if no action is taken.
“They should stage level conventions, town hall meetings and dialogue sessions to discuss SAM,” Kanu said.
The CISLAC Programme Manager, however, urged the women groups to also drive the advocacy for full implementation of the Child Rights Act in the state which makes nutrition rights of a child.
Meanwhile, Olubunmi Aweda of the International Society of Media in Public Health, ISMPH use the forum in Katsina, to call on the women and youths to use the social media to sensitize the policy and decision-makers on the need to stamp out children malnutrition in the state and Nigeria.
Women and Youths groups in attendance at the meeting were Queen Dijah Women and Children Awareness Initiation, Kurfi Youth Voice, Charity Foundation, Dutsinma, Federation of Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Women Rights Advancement and Protection of Alternatives (WRAPA) and Katsina Budget Awareness Initiatives among others.