COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A RETREAT FOR RELEVANT COMMITTEES OF GOMBE STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF SEVERE ACUTE MALNUTRITION AS A CHILD RIGHT ORGANISED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AT CHARTWELL HOTEL, BAUCHI STATE ON 5TH FEBRUARY, 2020.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a retreat for relevant Committees in Gombe State Assembly on 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 recognised 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.After deliberating exhaustively on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:
- Poverty and lack of awareness are the major causes of malnutrition.
- Currently, the local governments cannot,by their mandate, sign budgets in the tune required for the prevention and treatment of SAM and as such, are not in the position to make meaningful contributions to SAM prevention and treatment.
- Inadequate national consciousness and ownership of the identified issues at all leadership levels.Consequently, there has been little fairness regarding both budgeting and release of funds for SAM.
- Malnutrition impedes physical growth and cognitive development of children with no fewer than 2.5million children affected in Nigeria.
- Nutrition situation in Gombe State according to (NNHS 2018)
shows that overall stunting rate is 44% which is higher than the national average of 32.0% and North East geopolitical zone average of 42.8%.
- The dreaded impact 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.
- Sustained Community-based Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) activities remain paramount to complement existing efforts at enhancing preventive and curative measures against Severe Acute Malnutrition in Gombe state.
- 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.
- Concerted efforts should be made by the Gombe State House of Assembly (GSHA)to enlighten the populace on the need to practice healthy habits that would promote their health and foster improved standard of lives.
- There is need for increased empathy, acknowledgement, national consciousness and ownership of the SAM issue by leaders at all levels of government as this would help achieve fairness regarding both the budgeting and release of funds for SAM in the state.
- Poverty reduction programmes, awareness creation and capacity building should be carried out by stakeholders to empower families to find alternatives to addressing malnutrition and improved feeding as curative and preventive measures for malnutrition and SAM.
- There should be a speedy actualization of autonomy of the local government so that the local governments would be better placed to address issues of PHC at the lowest levels in the state.
- 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.
- Encourage monitoring and tracking of related nutrition issues at constituency levels by Members of the State House of Assembly for well-informed and proactive legislative intervention.
- Encourage male involvement in the preventive and curative process of SAM to encourage mothers in reporting cases of SAM at all levels.
- Scale-up of CMAM intervention to the yet-to-reach Local Government Areas in Gombe state to ensure adequate coverage and mitigate reported default cases.
- Continued capacity development to all sectors involved in SAMcases in all ramifications to ensure collective intervention.
- Adequate budgetary allocation, cash-backing and timely release of nutrition fund to ensure sustained intervention, with strengthened oversight activities by the State House of Assembly.
- GSHA has taken the message and would now partner with CISLAC and explore the best ways possible to drive the SAM narrative as it is our duty to secure the future of our children.
- There have been great improvements in health care in the state under the present government. We would follow up with the executive to ensure that the health status of the state is improved especially in areas of SAM. We would work to change the indices and statistics on SAM in the state going forward.
- 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.
- We would work with CISLAC as SAM ambassadors by enlightening our citizens to find preventive measures for SAM and alternatives for RUTF.And in the event of SAM occurrence, we would work to ensure that monies are made available for the procurement of RUTF.
- GSHA would ensure that substantial amount is budgeted in the 2021 budget for malnutrition.
- GSHA would sponsor and pass a law that would revive community environmental sanitation system in the state.
- GSHA will embark on deliberate awareness creation on SAM through engagements with traditional and religious leaders.
- The GSHA will encourage collages of health sciences within the state on the training of indigent students in order to curb the menace of SAM and Malnutrition in rural areas.
- GSHA will pass a bill that would compel Health workers posted to rural areas to remain in their places of assignment among other things.
- GSHA will conduct visits to the CMAM sites in their constituencies. Where there are no CMAM sites, the members will join the nearest CMAM site visit.
- The Chairman, House Committee on Health will call for a meeting of all the members immediately after this retreat.
- Rt Hon. Abubakar Sadiq Ibrahim – Hon speaker, Gombe State House of Assembly
- Siddi Buba – Deputy Speaker – Chairman, House committee on Rules and Business
- Markus Samuel – Majority Leader – Chairman, House committee on Housing and Transport
- Sadam A. Bello – Deputy Majority leader (Chairman, House Committee on Youths and Sports)
- Ramby I. Ayala – Deputy Minority leader – Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary
- Hon Musa Buba – Chief Whip – Chairman, House Committee on Security and Tenders
- Mohammed Sa’idu – Chairman, House Committee on Trade and Investment
- NasiruAbdulkarim – Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
- Hon Shuaibu Adamu – Chairman, House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs
- Abubakar Muhammed – Chairman, House Committee on Finance
- Bappa Usman Jurara – Chairman, House committee on health
- Yerima Ladan Gaule – Chairman, House Committee on Works and Infrastructure
- Adamu Umar Aminu – Chairman, House Committee on Metropolitan and Urban Development
- Mustapha Usman Hassan – Chairman, House Committee on Land and Survey
- Abdullahi Abubakar – Chairman, House Committee on House Services
- Adamu A. Musa – Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts
- Hamza Adamu – Chairman, House Committee on SDGs
- Tulfukut M. Kardi – Minority Whip – Chairman, House Committee on Information and Communication
- Yahaya Moh’d Kaka – Deputy Chief Whip Public petition
- Bashir BarauYakubu – Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources
- Adamu Sale Pata – Chairman, House Committee on Education
- A. Ahmadu – Minority Leader – Chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privilege
- Asmau M. Igamus – Deputy Minority Whip – Chairman, House Committee on Women affairs.
Rt Hon. Abubakar Sadiq Ibrahim – Hon speaker, Gombe State House of Assembly