CSBS News Desk
The Chief of Field Office, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria Bauchi Field Office, Dr. Abdulai Kaikai, has disclosed that the agency has invested around N300 million for the treatment of 28,000 severely malnourished children in Bauchi State.
Kaikai made the disclosure when he paid a recent courtesy call on the new Bauchi State Commissioner for Health, Dr Halima Mukaddas, in her office, saying that Ready-to-use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) items were procured to save the lives of the severely malnourished children
During the courtesy call, Kaikai, on behalf of UNICEF, congratulated the Commissioner on her appointment and briefed her on the collaboration between UNICEF and the Ministry.
“The lives of a total a total 5,400 children have been saved since the inception of the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in the state,” said Kaikai.
He said there were 15,000 cases of Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM) treated in 2015 alone in the state. He appealed to the State Government to contribute N27 million to funding of N139 million provided by UNICEF for the procurement of RUTF in 2016 co-financing arrangement.
“With this contribution, we will together treat 15,000 children and save 3,000 lives in 2016,” he said and also appealed to the state government to fast-track he adoption and development of a Strategic Action Plan for Nutrition.
Apart from nutrition, Kaikai said UNICEF has also supported the ministry in the different areas of costing tools for Primary Health Care (PHC), sustainable achievements in Routine Immunisation, and support for the 12 rounds of the bi-annual Maternal and New Born and Child Health Weeks.
He listed the priorities of UNICEF for the year 2016 to include the domestication of Health Policies, actualisation of the One Main Primary Health Care per ward approach, routine immunisation, coordination through donor partners and support for capacity building.
In her response, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Mukaddas acknowledged the contribution of UNICEF to the development of the state, saying that the gesture has made tremendous impact in the areas of health, education, water supply, sanitation health as well as system strengthening and capacity building.
Mukaddas assured the UNICEF chieftain of greater collaboration between her ministry and development partners and donors such as UNICEF to sustain the gains recorded in the area of polio and other transmissible diseases.
The issue of malnutrition is among the targets set under the 17 new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have a dateline of 2030 for the realisation of the 169 targets under the goals.