The Kaduna State Government is tackling the scourge of malnutrition with determination and focus. Hajiya Ummi El-Rufai, wife of the state governor and chairperson of the Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Programme (KADENAP), stated this during a visit to the Pampaida Millennium Village Project, located in Saulawa, Ikara LGA.
Fielding questions during the visit along with members of the Steering Committee of KADENAP, Hajiya Ummi said the alarming statistics released by UNICEF on the number of malnourished children in the State had gingered her to take this fight head on. She explained that ”reading a piece of news by UNICEF that 1.3 million are affected by malnutrition gingered me to thinking of what to do to salvage that situation”.
The Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, KADENAP was launched in January 2017 as a task force with the sole purpose of ensuring that the disturbing statistic on malnutrition in Kaduna is reversed through concrete actions to provide food for the vulnerable. Led by the wife of the Governor, Ummi El-Rufai, the task force comprises of Commissioners of Health & Human Services, Budget & Planning, Finance, Agriculture, Rural & Community Development, Water Resources, Women Affairs & Social Development and Education.
Other Stakeholders in the KADENAP task force include the ALGON Chairman, Unicef, WHO, the E.S, State Primary Healthcare Agency amongst others.
At the launching of the summit back in January, Governor El-Rufai stated that the Kaduna State Government has taken steps to address hunger and starvation in the state, where he disclosed that his administration had last year set aside N300 million to take care of 50,000 malnourished children through UNICEF.
Shedding more light on the activities of KADENAP, Hajiya Ummi disclosed to newsmen in Pampaida, the intervention has been structured in three phases. “The emergency part is about us trying to see how we can save children under the age of five that are acutely malnourished. In the second phase, we want to see how we can extend the programme to other children above the age of five, mothers and pregnant women.
“In the third phase we want to see how we can proactively engage the people, every stakeholder, to see how we can avoid going back to the first and second phases”.
She said the visit to Pampaida was to enable KADENAP observe first-hand how they produce highly nutritious foods locally. “They have been doing some locally produced foods that carry all the nutrients that a human being needs.
“We are trying to see what they are doing if it’s something that can be replicated; for us to be able to spread the information and the formula and the recipe on how it is done because we do have the food stuff and the crops, we just need to put it together to be able to have a nutritious meal,” she added.
The Commissioner for Rural and Community Development, Hajia Balaraba Aliyu who was also at Pampaida, disclosed that the Kaduna State Government, through the Ministry is implementing an action plan to reduce poverty in the State. “The government is developing women and youth employment and education programmes as part of its fight against poverty.
“Our desire is to ensure inclusive development in the state, with particular emphasis on rural communities to bring them out of extreme poverty,” Hajiya Balaraba explained.
KADENAP has identified Zaria, Makarfi and Igabi as the three Local Government Areas with very high number of malnutrition cases, requiring urgent intervention.