A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A RETREAT FOR RELEVANT COMMITTEES OF BAUCHI STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF SEVERE ACUTE MALNUTRITION (SAM) AS A CHILD RIGHT ORGANISED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AT MAIDUGU HOTEL, GOMBE STATE ON 24TH FEBRUARY, 2020.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a retreat for relevant committees of Bauchi State Assembly on the prevention and treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) as a child right. The retreat aimed at enlightening members of relevant committees on SAM issues and how they can ensure that SAM is recognized as a human right issue and prioritization of funding for the Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) through appropriate legislative process. The retreat was attended by principal officers and members of relevant committees of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Clerks, SAM Advocacy Partners, Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and the Media.
After deliberating exhaustively on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:
- According to (NNHS 2018 statistics on nutrition situation in Bauchi State, the stunting rate is at 45.6%, Moderate Acute Malnutrition is at 29.3% while Severe Acute Malnutrition is at 16.3%. These figures are higher than the national average of 32.0% and North East geopolitical zone average of 42.8%.
- Bauchi State experienced RUTF stock out in May, 2019.10,000 cartoons were supplied by the Federal Government, procured through UNICEF in September which ran out in January, 2020. The state is currently out of stock of RUFT.
- Bauchi state has three (3) nutrition-based policies namely:
- National Strategic Nutrition Policy
- National Food and Nutrition Policy
- Bauchi State Nutrition Costed Plan
- The dreaded impacts of malnutrition include monumental economic and productivity losses, irreparable potential loss, increased susceptibility to communicable diseases and other infections.
- With the Universal Declaration of Human Right, and Child Right Act, adequate nutrition status constitutes a Child Right issue in Nigeria.
- Malnutrition impedes physical growth and cognitive development of children with no fewer than 2.5million children affected in Nigeria.
- With the recent development integrating RUTF as part of the National Essential Drug list, adequate and sustainable procurement of RUTF remain paramount to combat existing cases of SAM in the state.
- Sustained Community-based Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) activities remain paramount to complement existing efforts at enhancing preventive and curative measures against SAM in Bauchi state.
- There is information gap between the agencies responsible for primary health care and nutrition, and the Bauchi State House of Assembly on the actual situation and status of SAM in Bauchi State.
- There is inadequate national consciousness, awareness, information on, and ownership of the SAM issues at the legislative level. Consequently, there has been little fairness regarding both budgeting and release of funds for SAM.
- Unexplained suspension of the standing order still remains a challenge for the CMAM activities in the State.
- The Bauchi State House of Assembly did not remove nutrition (RUTF) budget line from the state budget.
- Majority of House Members are not aware of the prevalent issues of SAM in the state.
- There is need for more advocacy and awareness creation on issues of SAM for Bauchi House of Assembly to enable them have better understanding regarding the seriousness of the issues.
- There should be readiness to arrest the situation and engagement on budget of SAM in the state.
- The House Committee on Health should go back and engage the agencies responsible for PHC in the state on budget and data and present their findings to the BAHA.
- The state government should,as a matter of concern, demonstrate strong political will to ensure the release of budgetary provision for the procurement and administration of RUTF in the state to avoid future stock out and attendant deaths.
- The Bauchi State House of Assembly has declared a state of emergency on SAM in Bauchi State.
- The Chair, House Committee on Health will engage all agencies in charge of health in the state to establish a child nutrition committee where all issues regarding SAM and child health would be discussed, to close the identified gaps and commit to ensuring that the problem of SAM is reduced to the barest minimum.
- The BAHA would have an in-house discussion to find clarity on both the data presented and the status and have a policy and strategic bill to address and guide against the identified/proposed issues.
- The Appropriation Committee would discuss with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the state health agencies to address the issue of appropriation of health/nutrition budget line in the state budget.
- There should be a review of existing CMAM centres and actions taken to improve the condition of the centres and SAM generally in the state.
- There should be readiness to work to ensure that the lives of Bauchi State children are improved.
- As legislators, we have the powers to legislate and oversight. We would therefore perform our duties to ensure that we conduct proper oversight functions and follow up to ensure prompt release of funds as regards SAM and ensure they are used appropriately.
- The Chair, House Committee on Health would coordinate a visit to the CMAM sites immediately.
Rt. Hon. Abubakar Y. Suleiman – Speaker, BAHA
Hon. Yunusa Ahmed
Hon. Mohammed Wanzam
Hon. Bakoji Aliyu Bobbo
Hon. Sale Hodi
Hon. Yusuf Mohammed Bako
Hon. Muhammad Lumo
Hon. Bello S. Jadori
Hon. Umar Yakubu
Hon. Musa Manteb
Hon.Danlami Ahmed Kawule
Hon. Tukur Ibrahim
Hon. Ado Wakili
Hon. Tijanni Muhammad Aliyu
Hon. Abdukadir Umar Dewu
Hon. Sale Mohammed
Hon. Babayo Mohammed Akuyam