By Ndahi Marama – Maiduguri
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, will continue to support the Borno State government on the provision of preventive and curative nutrition services.
Mr. Geoffrey Ijumba, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Borno Field Office, said this yesterday at the inauguration of the Borno State Food and Nutrition technical and steering Committees in Maiduguri.
Represented by Kabuka Banda, UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Manager, Ijumba said: “Thanks to the support from our donors, namely, DFID, Japan, ECHO, Germany, Canada, Italy, and others; we will continue to support the government in the provision of preventative and curative nutrition activities.”
“UNICEF believes that one death of a child is too many and that we must ensure a healthy start to life for all children regardless of their situation, hence our support for the activation of this committee,” added Ijumba.
According to Ijumba, since 1992, UNICEF has been supporting the BoBornorno State government to provide integrated life-saving nutrition services to children under five years and pregnant and lactating women across the state, adding that the support has been expanded following the declaration of nutrition emergency in the northeast by the federal government of Nigeria in 2016.
UNICEF has also set up over 400 Out-patient Therapeutic Program sites (OTP) in health facilities and provided 100% of the supplies to treat children with severe acute malnutrition since 2016, revealed Ijumba.
Inaugurating the Committee, Secretary to Borno State government, Alhaji Usman S. Jidda, said the state government deemed it necessary to constitute the committee because of the state’s current critical position as a state undernutrition emergency, occasioned by the protracted insurgency in the northeast which has displaced thousands who are without adequate food and their livelihood activities destroyed.
“I wish to assure you that government will fully support the implementation of all policies and programmes of the committee to attain the optimal nutritional status of Borno State and emphasis would be placed on the most vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, women, and elderly who have special nutritional needs.
“Furthermore, the government and its partners will allocate funding for the proposed work plans of each of the line ministries and agencies that are implementing food and nutrition-related programmes and projects,” said Alhaji Jidda.
Earlier in her remarks, the Permanent Secretary Budget and Planning, Borno State Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, Mairo Bunu Lawan, noted that setting up the Borno State Committee on Food and Nutrition was is in line with the National Policy on Food and Nutrition (NPFN) which has made provision for national, state and local government committees on Food and Nutrition.
In his speech, the Borno State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, Alhaji Adamu Lawan, said that food security and nutrition is one of the priorities in the 10-pact agenda of the state government and that investment in nutrition was imperative to achieve further gains in health and economic growth.