UNICEF, Kaduna Gov’t, Partners Hold Health Camp To Address Malnutrition In LGA

UNICEF, Kaduna Gov’t, Partners Hold Health Camp To Address Malnutrition In LGA

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Kaduna State Government has organised a five-day health camp to tackle malnutrition issues among children in Igabi local government area of the state.

The programme, the Integrated Primary Health Care Service and Health Camp was organised with other partners for residents in Tudun Biri and Rigasa communities in the LGA.

Collaborating partners in the effort are Accelerating Nutrition Rate in Nigeria (ANRIN) which was represented by Dr Zainab Idris Kwaru; Alive and Thrive, represented by Mrs Sarah Didi Kwasu and Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria which has Jessica Bartholomew as its representative.

The event was flagged off by the Director, Family and Community Health Services at the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board, Hajiya Nafisa Isa Musa who was represented by the Board’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Bello Jamoh.

The health camp offers a range of critical services, including nutrition counseling, immunisations, Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) screening, Vitamin A supplementation, Tuberculosis (TB) screening, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening, among others.

Organisers said the nutrition services were targeted at about 145,000 children between the ages of 0 – 59 months in the five-day health camp.

The Nutrition Specialist at the UNICEF Kaduna field office, Mrs. Chinwe Ezeife, disclosed this on the fourth day of the integrated primary health care services and mass screening at Ado Gwaram community of Rigasa ward.

Mrs Ezeife explained that the exercise included antenatal services for pregnant women in the targeted communities across 16 wards and over 600 communities across the LGA.

She said the outreach was put together to further improve the health and nutrition status of children and women in the local government.

Corroborating, the Assistant Nutrition Focal Person of Igabi local government, Habiba Yusuf, said Ado Gwaram community in Rigasa has large numbers of children between the ages of six months to five years who are suffering from malnutrition.

She attributed inadequate and lack of balanced diet as well as improper personal and environmental hygiene, poverty as some of the causes of malnutrition in the community, while stressing the need for women to patronise health facilities and ensure good hygiene and intake of good food.

Speaking also on the Malnutrition challenge in the community, the Mai Ungwan of the community, Haruna Suleiman identified the lack of necessary nourishing food and poverty as part of their challenges.

He also commended UNICEF, the Kaduna State Government and partners for the intervention, and appealed for the sustenance of the programme, while assuring that the community will maintain hygienic environment.

A community health volunteer, Atine June, said she has spent seven years volunteering by going from house to house counselling women on health issues.

June commended UNICEF and the Kaduna State government for the intervention which she said will help a lot.

The Deputy Director of Public Health in the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, Dr Abubakar Sadiq Idris said the fight against malnutrition in the state required collaborative effort of government, communities and development partners.

Dr Idris described malnourishment as a serious issue that is not peculiar to Kaduna State alone but which has significant effects on children, particularly through stagnated growth.

“We have a coordinating body because we all know that malnutrition is not just a health issue but a multi-sectoral issue. The Ministry of Budget and Planning coordinates all the sectors in Kaduna State to secure funds to fight malnutrition, linking the ministries of health, education, finance, and the Budget and Planning Commission, including partners, in order to devise measures that will tackle malnutrition,” Dr Idris said.

According to him, Kaduna State has developed several policies to provide effective health care services to infants and young children as interventions to reduce the burden of malnutrition in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Aishat Auwal commended UNICEF, the Kaduna State Government and partners for the intervention, while appealing for the intervention to be sustained.

LEADERSHIP reports that Igabi local government area is classified as one out of eight Zero-Dose LGAs in Kaduna State and only one with 7 Primary Health Centres having treatment for children with severe acute malnutrition and severe wasting.

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