– Kano, Kaduna, Lagos two others develop effective nutrition budget monitoring mechanisms.
Five states of Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa and Lagos now boast of properly coordinated sectorial policies, planning, programming and monitoring of nutrition budgeting and implementation.
This was revealed in Abuja by the Executive Secretary of Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria, CS-SUNN, Beatrice Eluaka while speaking to newsmen at the end of Project dissemination meeting for Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems, PINNS.
Eluaka noted that five of the states where the PINNS project was carried out experienced the creation of line budgets for nutrition; domestication of nutrition policies, multi-sectoral nutrition strategic plans of action; increased understanding and political commitment to improving nutrition situations by policymakers.
She explained that CS-SUNN and its partners are committed to sustaining support for PINNS states to provide mechanisms that will ensure probity and accountability for nutrition budget lines.
“I think we have made significant impact because when we came on board there were lots and lots of issues. For example, there was the National Committee on Food and Nutrition, and the idea going by the National Policy on Food and Nutrition was to replicate the national at the state levels.
“When we came on board these States’ Committees on Food and Nutrition were moribund, so to speak, because they were not clear on their roles and responsibilities. And so, when we came on board, that was one of the first things we did to get members to recognise their roles and responsibilities.”
Also speaking, the State Nutrition Officer for Niger State, Mohammed Asmau said the coming of PINNS to Niger state introduced enormous changes that have led to improvement of discussions around nutrition.
Mohammed explained that prior to the partnership with PINNS, Niger state had about 13 qualified nutrition officers to carter for nutrition related health challenges of entire state’s population, but the coming of PINNS has helped in increasing the number to over 30, with mechanisms already put in place to have a nutrition officer in every Primary Health Facility by 2023.
“Before the partnership with the PINNS project, there were many challenges with tackling malnutrition in Niger state. For instance, our budget used to be around 10 million around 2017, but we have consistently increased our state nutrition budget line to about 399 to 400 million naira.
“To tackle the lack of qualified nutrition officers in the state we have done a lot, right from mapping out the number of qualified officers available in the state to know the enormity of the challenge, to training non-nutrition officers in the state in order to imbue capacity in them. Having 25 LGAs in Niger state with the analysis we had, we are looking at having one nutrition officer in charge of an LGA, one in each secondary health facility and another one in every primary health facility by 2023.”
The Chairman Board of Trustees for CS-SUNN, Dr. Bamidele Davies spoke on the results achieved through nutrition advocacy; and the need for Nigerians to eat food like their medicines and not medicines as their foods.
“The malnutrition situation in Nigeria is responding. And the only way it can respond is if we have clear programmes, clear plans and we are able to fund our plans. If you have been following the nutrition budget in Nigeria you will find out that it has increased from what used to be 10 million to billions of naira.
“The PINNS project if you observed in the five states and counting, began with improving the policy environment, people need to be informed to be able to take informed decisions. Gone are those days when budget is just say, what we gave you last year was 10 million so this year because of inflation we will give you 12 million. We need to know what that 12 million will buy – what is it going to provide, how many children, how many women, how many men, how many lives is it going to touch.”
CS-SUNN however, observed among other issues that bureaucratic bottlenecks are a major challenge to achieving results in nutrition advocacy