By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja

Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC have lamented the continued spread of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic which they said has worsened cases of malnutrition in their states.

Consequently, the governors have agreed to mobilize more resources as well as galvanize increased commitment and political will towards improving child nutrition in the APC States.

The governors’ decision was contained in a Communiqué issued Saturday in Abuja at the end of the Teleconference Meeting of Secretaries to Governments of APC States on Developing Common Policy Initiatives on Promoting Child Nutrition.

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The Communiqué was signed by Govs. Simon Bako Lalong and Mohammed Badaru Abubakar of Plateau and Jigawa states, both co-Chairmen of the Progressive Governors Forum PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee.

The governors held that the “COVID-19 pandemic has introduced entirely new dimensions to the crisis of nutrition by aggravating and widening the scope of the problem beyond the children, also to include the adult population”.

The Communiqué recommended an increased commitment and political will towards improving child nutrition in the APC States through enhancing resource mobilisation and incorporating in the annual budget both nutrition specific interventions and programmes and nutrition sensitive programmes.

“Engage concertedly with critical stakeholders to explore cross-sectoral opportunities for child nutrition interventions at all levels.

“Plan and implement nutrition policy interventions and programmes that will be sustainable and resilient to the impacts of COVID-19 and the associated economic fallouts.

“Develop and strengthen legislation, policies, strategies and action plans with measurable outcomes for nutritional and related interventions, including pregnant women, youth, and other vulnerable households.

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“Take leadership and ownership in the coordination and strengthening of child nutrition programmes and interventions by ensuring appropriate synergy between Ministries, Agencies and Departments, Local Governments, Development Partners, the Civil Society Partners, and the Private Sector.

“Have a collective meeting with Development partners that would essentially focus on domestication of FG and PGF policies on child nutrition in each APC state.

“Encourage interactions with farmers and entrepreneurs along the value chain in the local communities to develop a better understanding of how to participate and increase knowledge of nutrition and food security, and related environmental factors (such as climate change). “Explore ways to strengthen advocacy for the homegrown school feeding programme and make accountability part of its implementation in the APC States.

“Create a template that reflects the current status of each APC state on policies, implementation challenges and gaps as well as sustainability and also serve as a framework for peer learning, sharing of best practices and peer review amongst the APC states to ensure that they all are working collectively to align their nutrition policies with those of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Accordingly, the meeting adopted a proposed framework for Common Policy Initiatives on Promoting Child Nutrition in APC States for the consideration of Progressive Governors”, the Communiqué added.

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