Commissioner for Economic Planning in Gombe state, Alhaji Mohammed Danladi Pantami has described the emerging silent crisis of malnutrition in the State as a major drawback to the state’s giant development strides.
The Commissioner stated this at the dissemination meeting of the Gombe State Policy on Food and Nutrition and Five year Costed work Plan expected to gulp N3.6 billion where he added that, in the face of many challenges being faced by the State, malnutrition has remained a great challenge particularly for mothers and children.
According to him, “Throughout the years of our development efforts, Gombe State and Nigeria have undergone remarkable challenges where more children are surviving, the economy is growing, girls are better educated, more children are completing school and mothers are attending pre- and post-natal care.
However, these giant strides in our development effort are being drawn back by the emerging silent crises of malnutrition”.
He said, “The scenario leaves us with the urgent need to address the situation which this dissemination meeting is poised to address given the enabling environment provided by the Government and the support of all stakeholders, development partners, civil society organizations (CSO’s), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the private sector and the committees”.
He commended the express approval by Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo for the adoption and dissemination of the Gombe State Policy on Food and Nutrition and Five year Costed Work plan.
While commending the support of development partners, Alhaji Pantami singled out Save the Children International (SCI) for particularly providing the technical and financial resources for the preparation of the document.
The five year costed operational plan (2016 – 2021) has among other objectives, to improve food and security at the State, LGA, community and household levels; reduce under nutrition among infants and children, adolescents and women of reproductive age; reduce micronutriction deficiency disorders, especially among the vulnerable group and increase the knowledge of nutrition among the populace and nutrition education into formal and non/informal trainings.
Others are, to promote optimum nutrition for people especially those in difficult circumstances, including people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); prevent and control chronic nutrition related non-communicable diseases; incorporate food and nutrition considerations into the State and Local Government sectoral development plans and improve coordination; to promote and strengthen research, monitoring and evaluation of food and nutrition programmes as well as strengthen systems for providing early warning information on the food and nutrition situation.
The policy is also to ensure universal access to nutrition-sensitive social protection and improve access to water and sanitation services at the community and household level.
The document shows that malnutrition situation in Gombe State is particularly dire as 32 per cent of children under five years of age are underweight while 47.5 per cent of under five children are stunted. An estimated 1.4 per cent of children suffer from severe acute malnutrition or wasting and this translates to over 18,500 children under-five that are wasted annually.
Most of the goodwill messages presented by development partners and the Chairman of the Gombe State House of Assembly Committee on appropriation, Honourable Solomon Jisima, commended the State Government for supporting the effort but stressed the need for timely release of budgeted and approved funds.
He assured that the State legislature will ensure that the House allocates more funds so that the State will move out of its present embarrassing malnutrition situation.