Stakeholders have called on the National Assembly to reinstate the N800m that was initially approved in the 2020 budget for the Ministry of Health to tackle malnutrition problems in the country, saying that malnutrition remains one of the greatest challenges faced by the world.
They made this appeal while speaking with journalists at a virtual media parley on the National Nutrition Conference with the theme: ‘Innovative financing for nutrition options – the role of the media’. Representative of UNICEF, Mr. Zakaria Fusheini, while delivering his address, lamented that over the years, external donors have been the ones funding the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) in Nigeria so as not to compromise the interest of the children who are the end receivers.
He said UNICEF was working with state governments to ensure the promotion for the local production of the RUTF so that the issues of malnutrition can be tackled, even though the Nigerian government has left the funding to external donors alone.
On the zero percent budget for nutrition, he hinted that the Ministry of Health was working with the Ministry of Finance to get a favorable response from the National Assembly so that the budget of N800m that was removed can be reversed through the supplementary budget. Speaking in the same vein, a communication expert at the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Roslyn Gabriel, stressed that the role of the legislature in achieving sustainable nutrition financing in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized, with regards to public finance.
She asked the National Assembly to make adequate funding for nutrition and related interventions, including reduction, or elimination, of obesity and malnutrition problems in the health sector, with inclusion of Nutrition services. Representative of the Aisha Buhari Foundation ABF, Tessy Nongo Maina maintained that the malnutrition bill was supposed to capture and represent goodwill for impoverished children in the country but it was sad that it had not been effected. Nigerian Pilot