Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, (IHVN) says its Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project is yielding positive results with beneficiaries testifying of its impact.
Fatima Sulaiman is one of the beneficiaries of the ANRiN
project, in Kumbotso Local Government Area in Kano State. IHVN is increasing access and utilization of basic nutrition services for children under five years in Kumbotso and eight other local government areas in Kano state.
50-year-old Hauwa’u Sulaiman, grandmother of Fatima, was quoted as saying, “Fatima is eating well and healthy, I am happy that she is strong, thank you for your support,” as she held her granddaughter on her laps.
“When Fatima’s mother wanted to wean her, she brought her to me. At the time, Fatima was not feeding well. She was looking ill and weak. Though she was a year old, she could barely walk. Her legs were weak,” Hauwa’u narrated in Hausa language.
According to a news article sent to our correspondent by the the IHVN, Sulaiman’s experience as narrated above was about that time that community volunteers from the IHVN ANRiN project came to their neighborhood to counsel them about nutrition for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children.
Hauwa’u added that “They also gave me Vitamin A and deworming tablets, Zinc/ Oral Rehydration Solution for Fatima.” The drugs and the nutrition education received empowered Hauwa’u to take better care of her granddaughter and the improvements were obvious for all to see.
She also said, “Some neighbors were hesitant to take the medicines; now they can see their benefit. It helps a child feed better. I advise others to use these medicines given to us free from the ANRiN project.” Fatima now likes to take fresh cow milk, which is easily accessible as her grandmother rears and sells sheeps and goats.
Nutrition Focal Person for Kumbotso Local Government Area, Amina Gambo, explained that the project has been beneficial for Kumbotso indigenes, “They always appreciate the program because the medicines are free and volunteers bring it to their doorsteps. Malnutrition retards the growth of children. They become stunted and any child who is stunted will not meet the expected growth of his or her age group.”
Mother of threeZinatu Musa, another beneficiary of the basic nutrition services from the ANRiN project in Bunkure Local Government Area, said she received iron and folic acid tablets as well as Vitamin A and Albendazole for her children.
“When I was pregnant, I had the problem of not feeding and eating well and I also had low blood pressure. I was told to take the medicines in the morning after I have eaten well. It made me stronger and improved my appetite.
“My blood pressure came back to normal too. I am encouraging my friends who are pregnant to take these medicines. One of my children was always complaining of stomach pain but after he was given this Albendazole, he stopped complaining of stomach pains. Now he can eat food well and is healthy.”
IHVN ANRiN Project Chief of Party, Dr Temitope Kolade, said that more women and children are reached daily in the community through the World Bank funded project.
“We work with community-based organizations and community volunteers in Nasarawa, Kano Municipal, Fagge, Gwale, Tarauni, Kumbotso, Dala, Bunkure and Wudil Local Government Areas to provide basic nutrition services. Because the community volunteers are familiar with the neighborhoods, they go house to house to identify eligible women and children. Then, they give them the services.
“IHVN routinely conducts bimonthly town hall meetings and community outreaches as an avenue for engaging with community leaders and gatekeepers in all nine supported LGAs. This has helped improve acceptance rate for the services provided and it also serves as a forum for receiving feedback from the community which has helped improve the quality of services provided.”
IHVN Kano State ANRiN Project Director, Dr Ishaya Madaki, added that the services given are; “counseling for mothers/care-givers of children 0-23 months of age on improved behaviors related to maternal, infant and young child feeding. The project provides fifteen sachets of micronutrient powders bi-monthly for children 6-23 months and iron-folic acid (IFA) tablets for pregnant women.”
Dr Madaki explained that the Institute also gives intermittent preventive treatment for malaria during ante-natal care, distributes zinc and oral rehydration solution and gives Vitamin A and semiannual deworming.”
Kano State is among the Nigerian states with the highest burden of malnutrition. The 2018 National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS) gives the prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition for Kano as 6.8% and the prevalence of underweight children as 26.9%.
IHVN started offering these nutrition services after being chosen as a Non-State Actor (NSA) to support the Kano State Government in May 2021. As at December 2021, IHVN has provided 239,304 women and 536,065 children with nutrition services through the ANRiN project.