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United Nations delivers 12,400 cartoons of therapeutic foods to malnourished children in Jigawa state

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has provided 12,400 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) to the Jigawa State Government to help malnourished children in the state.

Penpushing reports that Head of Advocacy and Media Relation of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Safiya Akau, in a statement, said the Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) is expected to treat 14,000 children with wasting – a condition where a child is too thin for his or her height.

The Head of Advocacy and Media Relation explained that this initiative, funded through the Child Nutrition Fund (CNF), reinforced the unwavering commitment of both the state government and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to improving child health in Jigawa.

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“Over the past three years, Jigawa State has shown remarkable leadership in nutrition, health, and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) through consistent fund releases, quality service delivery, and creating a strong enabling environment’, she said.

“The Child Nutrition Fund (CNF) supported by key donors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) amongst others and managed by UNICEF, is a unique funding instrument’, Akau stated.

Penpushing further reports that Akau added that by matching government financing of essential nutrition commodities in a 1:1 ratio, governments can double their investment, accelerating the scale-up of policies and programmes for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of malnutrition.

The Head of Advocacy and Media Relation noted that Jigawa State was one of the early adopters of the Child Nutrition Fund, releasing N250 million in 2023, stressing that the world body matched this amount, which enabled the procurement of 12,400 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF).

“This initiative will treat children with severe wasting, marking the largest contribution by any state in Nigeria under the CNF to date. UNICEF is our key partner, and we are happy to have seen our partnership becoming even stronger. My government is committed to work for improving the nutritional status of women and children of Jigawa State as it is a matter of their fundamental rights’,Akau said

Penpushing also reports that malnutrition in Nigeria is on the rise, driven by conflict, forced displacement, and increasing food insecurity due to limited accessibility and affordability, while the country currently has the highest number of malnourished children in Africa and the second highest globally, with over nine million children affected.

The statement disclosed that Jigawa state faces a high burden of malnutrition, with 64 per cent of children stunted, 9.6 per cent wasted, and 81.9 per cent suffering from anemia, while over 80 per cent of children experience food poverty,

“Over 80 per cent of children experience food poverty, lacking a diverse diet to support growth and development. Despite these challenges, Jigawa State has been proactive in dealing with the situation, the statement said.

Penpushing reports that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the statement said Jigawa state last year procured 4,672 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF), and there are 150 sachets per carton which treated over 5,000 children.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the statement equally commended the Jigawa state government for local based initiative in addressing the scourge of malnutrition among children in the state.

“Jigawa’s innovative Masaki Nutrition Programme, with 300 community sites fully funded by the government, focuses on malnutrition prevention. Trained community health workers are deployed across the state, making Jigawa the first state in Nigeria to implement such a community nutrition programme’, the statement reads.

Penpushing further reports that United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, expressed her admiration for Jigawa State’s efforts, noting its commitment in addressing malnutrition

‘The commitment of Jigawa State under the leadership of the Governor in addressing malnutrition has been exemplary. The Child Nutrition Fund has allowed us to double our impact, ensuring that more children receive the life-saving treatment they need. I sincerely hope other state governments will be encouraged by the commitment shown by Jigawa State and invest in the child nutrition fund to address malnutrition in their respective states’, Munduate said.

Penpushing also reports that United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Nigeria announced, that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will provide Multiple Maternal Supplements (MMS) free of cost for pregnant women in the state

“UNICEF will provide Multiple Maternal Supplements (MMS) free of cost for pregnant women in Jigawa State to improve pregnancy outcomes. Our commitment to enhancing nutrition and health outcomes for the people of Jigawa, especially women and children, remains steadfast’, she stated

Penpushing reports that the Child Nutrition Fund (CNF) is a unique match funding instrument in which United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners match government financing of essential nutrition commodities in a ratio of 1:1.

The Child Nutrition Fund (CNF) helps to contribute to addressing malnutrition by improving access to life-saving nutrition commodities for children and women who need it the most, while this enables states increase the number of commodities available for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition.

Penpushing further reports that to date, five states have provided funds to the Child Nutrition Fund (CNF), while five others have committed to contributing. 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are yet to make formal commitments.

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