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To address the growing rate of malnutrition among children, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) on Wednesday urged the Kaduna State Government to improve on its budgetary allocation.

The CISLAC, which trained the state’s Legislators through a collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), also called for improved citizens participation for needs assessment in budgetary process to ensure accountability in nutrition budget.

In a communiqué jointly issued by Auwal Rasfanjani of CISLAC and Dr Issac Zankhai, Chairman, House Committee on Health, Kaduna State House of Assembly, the basic causes of malnutrition were identified to include inadequate knowledge and financial resources.

The communiqué also identified lack of political will, as well as other socioeconomic and environmental challenges as major impediment affecting children’s nutrition in the state.

”While malnutrition constitutes a serious setback to socio economic development of a nation, sustainable growth in the state cannot be achieved without prioritised attention to scale up and sustain investment for nutrition.

”Lack of appropriate follow up on the approved allocation to nutrition by responsible officers delays release of nutrition funding, performance and intervention,’’ it said

According to the communiqué, “Kaduna State in 2017 recorded 17,989 children admitted to the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in Nigeria, out of which 11,324 were cured, 1515 defaulted, 214 not recovered and 150 died.

“As at 2017, the state recorded 4.1 per cent severe acute malnutrition, 27.9 per cent stunted, 11.7 per cent wasting, 16.1 per cent underweight rates (multiple indicators cluster survey,2017).’’

The communiqué said that wide knowledge gap on nutrition issues and facts among relevant authorities hampered sustainable allocation for nutrition intervention.

”Lack of uniformity in data presentation across the levels of government on nutrition budgetary allocation and utilization.

”Inadequate citizens participation and impact assessment on budgetary performance to inform areas of citizens needs and priority back pedals nutrition interventions in the state,’’ it said.

The NGO called for enhanced legislative-constituent relation through constituency outreach to understand budgetary priority and achieve community-driven nutrition intervention.

It said the state should also create legislative-executive-CSOs synergy through policy and legislative information accessibility to civil society groups and the media to enhance timely and accurate information for public and policy advocacy.

“The government should strengthen the capacity of relevant officials across the line ministries on nutrition issues and budgetary requirements, and regular legislative oversight by relevant committees.

“This is to enhance timely release and judicious utilisation of nutrition budget in the state.

“Ensure transparency and accountability in nutrition budgetary release by relevant MDAs for high impact and efficiency.

“Create formidable advocacy group among civil society and the media to promote synergy in policy, legislative and public advocacy on nutrition funding.

“Develop social media platform for civil society and the media to communicate development and share information on nutrition funding and interventions,’’ it stated.

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