A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE-DAY LEGISLATIVE SUMMIT WITH SPEAKERS, COMMITTEE CHAIRS OF HEALTH & APPROPRIATION AND CLERKS OF BAUCHI, GOMBE, JIGAWA, KANO, & KATSINA STATES ON THE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF SEVERE ACUTE MALNUTRITION (SAM) IN THE STATES ORGANISED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AT BAFRA INTERNATIONAL HOTEL, KADUNA STATE ON THE 17TH OCTOBER, 2020.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a Legislative Summit on the Prevention and Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) for Speakers, Chairs of Committees on Health & Appropriation, Clerks of Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, and Kastina State Houses of Assembly(ShoA), including State Nutrition Officers and Civil Society Organisations in the States, in view of the funding challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic and how to mitigate the challenge.
This is against the backdrop of available reports indicating that malnutrition remains high in Northern Nigeria with about 2.2 million out of 2.5 million severely acute malnourished children from the region. Furthermore, inadequate budgetary allocation to nutrition and delay in or non-release of nutrition appropriated funds by the state governments are not complementing donor efforts in this regard.
Besides, malnutrition imparts negatively on the socio-economic development of Nigeria and sustainable development cannot be achieved in the country, especially at the sub-national levels, without prioritised attention to nutrition investments at all levels, hence the need to involve all stakeholders, particularly the State Legislatures; that is, the House Leaderships and relevant Committee Chairs and their MDAs.
To this end, therefore, the Summit sets out to provide a platform for Legislators from the five target states to share experiences on their role towards sustainable and improved nutrition funding in their states. Avail Legislators, the opportunity to review the current efforts of their State Governments for improved nutrition interventions and status of the States, and how the State Houses of Assembly (SHoA) can come in, including taking steps to ensure full implementation of recommendations on any new funding streams/strategies for nutrition at the sub-national level in the wake of the COVID-19 realities going forward.
In his opening remarks, The Executive Director (ED), CISLAC States that the Summit provides a platform for the Legislators from the state to understand their State nutrition situation, in order to guide them in making commitments on how they can ensure that Severe Acute Malnutrition(SAM) prevention and treatment is properly focused and prioritised as a human rights issue through appropriate legislative interventions.
The Speakers of the SHoA in their opening statements, commit to do more towards improving budgetary allocations on Nutrition and wish all a fruitful discussion.
After deliberating exhaustively on various thematic issues, the following observations, recommendations and action points were noted for implementation.
- The dreaded impacts of malnutrition include monumental economic and productivity losses, irreparable potential loss, increased susceptibility to communicable diseases and other infections.
- Nigeria is one of the countries responsible for 80% of global child malnutrition and the North Western States bear the most burden of SAM in the country.
- The CMAM program in Katsina State is currently not operational due to stock out of RUTF and insecurity since April 2020.
- Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano and Katsina States all have ongoing SAM intervention programs, such as the IYCF program, CMAM program, Adolescent Nutrition Program, and Maternal Iron Folate Supplementation for pregnant mothers.
- All five states – Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano and Katsina have inadequate CMAM Centres.
- Poverty, lack of awareness, funding and inadequate nutrition personnel emerged as the three most significant causes of malnutrition in all the five states.
- RUTF usage is being abused by mothers who use it as a means of livelihood at the expense of their children’s health/lives.
- Inadequate regional consciousness and ownership of the SAM issues at all the leadership levels constitute the greatest inhibition to both budgeting and release of funds for SAM.
- Insecurity in some of the northern states constitutes a major challenge to SAM intervention programmes in the state.
- There is need for increased empathy, acknowledgement, regional consciousness and ownership of the SAM issue by leaders at all levels of government as this would help achieve improved budgeting and release of funds for SAM in the states.
- Need for collaborative efforts, synergy and communication amongst MDAs and sectors with nutrition component in their mandate to ensure collective and effective interventions.
- There is urgent need for deliberate and more effective implementation of State Action Plans, mainstreaming of oversight of MDAs, and budget performance to check lapses in program implementation and performance.
- Need to increase efforts to combat insecurity in some of the Northern State.
- Identify and set up a strong advocacy group for a more strategic and intensive engagement of the State legislators and Executives for improved actions towards the treatment and prevention of SAM in all the five states.
- Prioritize the local production of RUTF to avoid stock out.
- There is the urgent need to for more trained nutrition personnel to carry out nutrition activities at community level.
- States that have shortage of manpower should adopt task shifting policy to overcome the problems.
Commitment/Next Steps Action Point:
- The Rt. Hon. Speakers commit to making budgetary allocation for nutrition and properly oversight its implementation.
- Jigawa State House of Assembly pledged to provide 150 Million by 2021 in their constituency projects budget provisions.
- The SHoAs commit to make a % of IGR provision to fund Nutrition by law in their States.
- The SHoA Speakers pledged to form a nutrition specific sub-committee to address the issues of malnutrition in their States.
- The SHoA Speakers commit to harmonise nutrition budgets across MDAs in their States.
- SHoA Speakers urge CISLAC to lead the SAM consortium to drive the process of legislation on nutrition in the States.
- Gombe State mandated the state Ministry of Science and Tech to embark on local production of RUTF with a take-off 30 million naira.
- Civil Society Organisations have pledged to continue monitoring the implementation of nutrition policies/activities in their States.
- Rt. Hon. Abubakar Sadiq Ibrahim
Speaker, Gombe State House of Assembly.
- Rt. Hon. Tasiu Musa Maigari Zango
Speaker, Katsina State House of Assembly.
- Rt. Hon. Abdulazeez Garba Gafasa
Speaker, Kano State House of Assembly.
- Hon. Abu Mohammed
Majority Leader, Jigawa State House of Assembly.
- Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
The Executive Director, CISLAC, Abuja.