The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has pledged to continue supporting the Borno State government in the provision of preventive and curative nutrition services. Mr. Geoffrey Ijumba, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Borno Field Office, revealed this during the swearin-in of the Borno State Food and Nutrition technical and steering Committees in Maiduguri.
UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Manager, Ijumba, who was represented by Kabuka Banda appreciated their patrons, namely, DFID, Japan, ECHO, Germany, Canada, Italy, and others for their unalloyed support which would make it possible to continue to support the government in the provision of preventative and curative nutrition services.
In his words: “UNICEF believes that one death of a child is too many and that we must ensure a healthy start to life for all children regardless of their situation, hence our support for the activation of this committee”.
He revealed that UNICEF had been supporting the BoBornorno State government since 1992 in the provision of integrated life-saving nutrition services to children under five years and pregnant and lactating women across the state, adding that the support has been expanded following the declaration of nutrition emergency in the northeast by the Federal Government in 2016.
Ijumba also said UNICEF had also set up over 400 Out-patient Therapeutic Program sites (OTP) in health facilities and provided 100% of the supplies to treat children with severe acute malnutrition since 2016.
Alhaji Usman S. Jidda, Secretary to Borno State government, while swearing-in the Committee, said that the state government deemed it necessary to constitute the committee because of the state’s current critical position as a state undernutrition emergency, occasioned by the protracted insurgency in the northeast which had displaced thousands who were without adequate food and their livelihoods destroyed.
In his words: “I wish to assure you that government will fully support the implementation of all policies and programmes of the committee to attain the optimal nutritional status of Borno State and emphasis would be placed on the most vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, women, and elderly who have special nutritional needs.
He added that: “Furthermore, the government and its partners will allocate funding for the proposed work plans of each of the line ministries and agencies that are implementing food and nutrition-related programmes and projects”.
Permanent Secretary Budget and Planning, Borno State Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, Mairo Bunu Lawan, noted that setting up the Borno State Committee on Food and Nutrition was is in line with the National Policy on Food and Nutrition (NPFN) which had made provision for national, state and local government committees on Food and Nutrition. The Borno State Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, Alhaji Adamu Lawan, said that food security and nutrition was one of the priorities in the 10-pact agenda of the state government and that investment in nutrition was crucial to achieve further gains in health and economic growth.
UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Fund, working in the world’s toughest places to reach the most disadvantaged children and adolescents – and to protect the rights of every child, everywhere. One of the world’s largest providers of vaccines, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality education and skill building, HIV prevention and treatment for mothers and babies, and the protection of children and adolescents from violence and exploitation. Before, during and after humanitarian emergencies, UNICEF is on the ground, bringing life-saving help and hope to children and families.