Kaduna Govt needs to engage critical mass of actors to address nutrition gaps – Official



Mr Bashir Muhammad, the Chairman of Kaduna State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN), says there is need for engaging a critical mass of actors in addressing nutrition gaps in the state.

Muhammad said this on Friday in Zaria, at the end of a three-day quarterly coordination and review meeting with Nutrition Focal Persons (NFPs) of the 23 LGAs of Kaduna.

He was represented by the Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), Mrs Linda Yakubu.

He explained that critical mass would ensure that when desk officers responsible for nutrition were away for some reasons either retirement, death or resignation, among others, there would not be any gap.

Muhammad who doubles as the Permanent Secretary of the commission, said in cases where nutrition desk officers were gone for some reasons, those they had been working with would be able to fit their positions seamlessly.

the SCFN chairman said the LGAs NFPs performance in the review meeting was impressive, considering some of them being new.

“We had to do a little brush up by bringing them to speed, which because of that, we realise the need for us to create a critical mass for nutrition.

“Some of the old NFPs have gone while some of the ones here are new and don’t have the knowledge we taught the old ones who have gone.

“Why we are emphasising on critical mass of nutrition desk officers is to ensure stepping down of training to others who are working along the same line,” Muhammad said.

He noted that going forward in ensuring a critical mass of nutrition desk officers, they would consider inviting the LGAs NFPs assistance for trainings and review meetings.

“The NFPs cannot carry out all nutrition activities alone; to achieve better results, there must be all hands on deck,” he said.

On the challenges hindering NFPs from better performance, the SCFN chairman said funding was critical in ensuring success.

Describing funding as a global challenge, he, however, said the NFPs were able to leverage on some of their emerging opportunities to carry out some nutrition interventions in their LGAs.

He urged them to be diligent and keep to their responsibilities to ensure better nutrition indices in their various LGAs.

A partner, Jessica Bartholomew, the State Coordinator, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), said 2023 had been tough for all the sectors because it was an electioneering year,
noting that alot of things were put on hold.

She added that some interventions had not gotten the supposed level of performance it deserved as expected in a third quarter.

“Change of government has affected the level of implementation of nutrition activities. But we are optimistic that in the fourth quarter, we will see some level of implementation and improvement in performance in terms of cash backing and activities to be implemented,” she said.

Bartholomew added that building capacity of NFPs was critical to improving nutrition outcome in the state.

She stressed that as partners, they had done their beats in building the capacity of the NFPs on reporting and generating their activities .

She, therefore, noted that data was very critical, where CS-SUNN used the meeting as opportunity to ensure the NFPs improved on their data accessment/ validation and their activities in the various LGAs to improve nutrition indices.

Also, Grace James, a Nutrition Specialist with Society for Family Health (SFH), Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN project), identified a gap in collaboration between the NFPs and their staff at the LGAs.

She noted that SFH was doing a lot of nutrition activities at the LGAs, which was not properly captured in the NFPs data.

She, therefore, said the SFH would collaborate with the focal persons to ensure all services delivery at the LGAs were well informed of the data, while reporting it as achievements for their LGAs.

James said in response to the gaps in capacity identified during the meeting, they would work towards having technical assistance to be provided by the SFH nutrition supervisors across the LGAs to bridge the gaps.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was supported by UNICEF, CS-SUNN, among others.


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