From Paul Orude

Following the current hardship in the country, the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), a non-profit coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations in Bauchi State, has expressed concern that malnutrition remains the biggest threat to child survival in Nigeria.

Secretary of CS-SUNN, Mrs Dabis Mwaike made the disclosure at a media parley in Bauchi on Wednesday as part of activities to mark the coalition’s 10-year anniversary.

Maike said the alliance was formed a decade ago with a shared vision to transform Nigeria into a country where every citizen’s food and nutrition are secured.

“CS-SUNN pursues this lofty goal by engaging government and non-state actors to raise awareness, sustain commitment and actions to effectively tackle under-nutrition in Nigeria,” she stated.

She said as part of efforts to mark the 10th anniversary of the alliance, CS-SUN has been reflecting on its journey to curb malnutrition in the country.

“As a country the reflection has been on 10 years of empowering communities, advocating for nutrition, and driving positive change across Nigeria, ” she stated.

“CS-SUNN has led Nigerian civil societies in partnership with government agencies, development partners, the media, and communities to implement nutrition interventions nationwide, dedication to nutrition advocacy and action, donors and partners support.

“The importance of partnerships and community engagements in achieving nutrition goals.

“CS-SUNN members participated in the development of the Bauchi State Policy on Food and Nutrition, Multisectoral plan of Action for nutrition, among other policies and documents.

“Through advocacy efforts, a nutrition budget line has been created.

“Community mobilisation and engagements in achieving nutrition goals were initiated and support of religious and traditional leaders in creating awareness for uptake of nutrition services “

The CS-SUNN Secretary said with the support of partners and donors, the alliance had been implementing both nutrition-specific and sensitive interventions such as community structures (Mama2Mama, CHIPS) to reach communities with key nutrition messages and mobilise communities for the uptake of nutrition services.

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“Also, food Bank Concept intervention has impacted positively as a measure to combating the menace of malnutrition in the community of intervention evidence by recovery documented on the nutrition tracker,” she added

Other interventions, she disclosed, include the use of volunteers to drive this initiative, the adoption of a comprehensive approach that addresses multiple needs of vulnerable populations, including education, healthcare, nutrition, and livelihoods, leading to more sustainable and impactful outcomes.

“The intervention includes partnerships and collaboration with government agencies, NGOs, private sector actors, and community-based organisations that allows for leveraging of resources, expertise, and networks to maximise impact and reach,” she disclosed.

“Regular monitoring, evaluation, and learning processes enable project stakeholders to assess progress, identify gaps and challenges, and make informed decisions for program improvement and sustainability.

“Different capacity building training such IPC-MIYCN, on the job coaching and mentoring during supportive supervision enhances the ability of frontline health workers to deliver optimal services”

She said despite all these interventions and achievements, malnutrition remains a concern to public health and a threat to child survival, growth, and development in the country.

“According to to National Demography Health Survey, NDHS, 2018, Bauchi State stunting rate is 46%, wasting is 9.5% while underweight is 28.2% and overweight is 0.5 %,” she said.

Mwaike said inadequate funding is another major challenge despite the fact that CS-SUN has come up with a lot of initiatives and innovations.

She said the coalition also experienced shortages of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) in the state, tracking and facility revisit of identified Severe Malnutrition and MAMhL, shortage of human resources, inadequate follow-up and monitoring by the WASH Departments/ units in local government areas due to irregular and inadequate financial supports from authorities and States.

Other challenges acting as a break to nutrition include inadequate understanding at all levels of the importance of sanitation and hygiene to public health, the economy, and the protection of the environment among others.

CS-SUNN Secretary recommends that the alliance facilitate grants for its members as well as coordinate joint proposal writing among member organisations.

“CBVs should reinforce following up with caregivers and the community on the importance of accessing care from the health facility,” she disclosed.