The Civil Society- Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on government to fund the 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BCHPF) to improve funding of nutrition sensitive and specific interventions.
The Executive Secretary of the organization, Sunday Okoronkwo made this known yesterday at a media roundtable in Abuja.
According to him, BHCPF will give the country a leap forward in revitalizing and strengthening primary health care service delivery and achieving the goals of Universal Health Coverage
While addressing the Press men, Okoronkwo said Nutrition plays a critical role in Human Capital Development (HCD).
In his remarks, Malnutrition undermines investments in education, health and labor which are the key thematic areas that will contribute to Nigeria’s vision to accelerate human capital development by 2030.
“Nigeria has the highest number of stunted under-five aged children in Sub-Saharan African and the second highest number of stunted children in the world, making malnutrition a significant public health problem in the country.
“Trends from the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) puts the prevalence of stunting at 42% in 2003, 41% in 2008 and 37% in 2013 and 2018.
“Deficiencies in essential nutrients lead to malnutrition, which affects an individual’s mental and physical state, resulting in poor health and work outcomes.
Okoronkwo however commended the government of Nigeria for setting up the Nigerian Human Capital Investment (HCI) Committee and Core Working Group (CWG) in 2018.
“The CWG set a Human Capital Development (HCD) vision for “Healthy, Educated and Productive Nigerians for a globally competitive nation by 2030” with an overall target of 24 million additional healthy (under-five year old children surviving and not stunted), educated (completing secondary school) and productive (youth entering the labour force) Nigerians by 2030.”
Speaking further on the positive contributions of the organization to end malnutrition in Nigeria, he stated that that: over qthe years, CS-SUNN has remained committed in supporting the government of Nigeria to improve nutrition outcomes and address some challenges which has continued to impede progress for nutrition, some of which include:
- Inadequate Nutrition Data to inform real-time decisions that will translate to desired change for nutrition in Nigeria.
- Weak Nutrition Governance with very low political will to fully implement and fund nutrition policies and plans
- Gender Inequality in health and nutrition as women and children are not part of decision-making processes.
- Poor capacity and inadequate health workforce as most health facilities do not have adequate manpower (particularly Nutritionists) with required skills to deliver effective nutrition interventions.
- Weak Accountability Systems and Co-ordination platforms.
“Over the past 3 years, CS-SUNN efforts have contributed to increase in budgetary allocation for nutrition.
“However, allocations are still low and releases abysmal. Current investments in proven nutritional intervention are still inadequate compared to the magnitude of the problem.
“CS-SUNN is therefore calling for innovative ways of financing nutrition programming at all levels including increase in domestic funding, Okoronkwo said.