By Eunice Nnachi, Yenagoa
The Civil Society Scale up Nutrition in Nigeria CS-SUNN on Thursday disclosed that Bayelsa State has a nutrition crisis in need of urgent attention by the government and other relevant stakeholders.
Program Officer, CS-SUNN, Dr Goodness Anyanwu made this known during a one day media roundtable on increased investment in nutrition to scale up quality nutrition services held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Dr Anyanwu pointed out that the state needs urgent implementation of policies and programs to increase budgetary allocation for nutrition as more children are loosing their lives due to malnourishment.
She emphasized that the problem of malnourishment should be tackled effectively through implementation of policies on nutrition funding, release of funds for nutrition and increase in exclusive breastfeeding.
“CS-SUNN is here in Bayelsa because the state has one of the worst indices in nutrition in the country, we here to hold Government and political office holders accountable on promises made for nutrition not fulfilled”
She called on the state government and other relevant stakeholders to be more proactive in ensuring that funds released for nutrition are properly channelled to the right sources particularly for people at the grassroots.
” We also need the government to domesticate six months paid maternity leave for working mothers to enable them engage in exclusive breastfeeding for the growth and development of children in the state”
Dr Anyanwu also urged the media to give visibility to activities of CS-SUNN for more enlightenment and awareness that would reduce malnourishment in children and help young mothers know the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
Also speaking, CS-SUNN Steering Committee led by Mrs Ebere Okeyonyema appealed to the state government for prompt release of funds for nutrition.
She reiterated the need to address malnutrition issues by establishing food demonstration labs in Primary Health Cares, extending the maternity leave and more funding for maternal and child nutrition interventions.
“CS-SUNN urges the media to intensify reporting on nutrition issues, attracting policymakers and concerned stakeholders to take decisive steps towards curbing malnutrition in Bayelsa.
“We commit to equipping the press with pertinent information for thorough and factual reporting on nutrition. The alliance calls on organizations in Bayelsa to unite with CS-SUNN in advocating for the implementation of maternal and child nutrition interventions.
“We seek collective commitment to consistently promote comprehensive community health education initiatives focused on nutrition”
On his part, Bayelsa State Nutrition Officer, Mr Ebi Wilson noted that the quality of nutrition is important for both the old and young hence concerted efforts should be made by the government to provide resources and treatment for severe and moderate acute malnutrition which is fast claiming the lives of young children.
He also advised young women to breastfeed their children within the first one hour after giving birth and six months exclusive breastfeeding to protect the children from preventable diseases.
Nigerianpilot reoorts that, CS-SUNN, is a nongovernmental, nonprofits making coalition, is dedicated to transforming Nigeria into a country where every citizen has secured food and nutrition.
The outfit pursue its vision through engagement, mobilization of government and non-state actors, advocacy for policy implementation, awareness raising, evidence generation, capacity building, and community stimulation to scale up nutrition in Nigeria, with a particular focus on maternal and child nutrition.”