Ikara Local Government of Kaduna State has set up Food and Nutrition Committee to curb rising cases of acute malnutrition in the area.
The Nutrition Focal Person in the council, Mrs Theresa Marcus, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Friday.
Marcus explained that the committee is made up of civil society organisations, traditional and religious leaders, youths and local government officials.
She said that the council had also organised a five-day training for 48 health officers on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), which opened on May 2.
She added that the council earmarked N250,000 for the committee to implement its work plan, in line with the state’s work plan on nutrition.
According to her, the money will be released monthly to address the increasing
cases of malnourished children in the area, which she described as alarming.
Miss Jessica Bartholomew, a Nutrition Officer, Positive Hope Support and Care Initiative, a Kaduna-based NGO supporting the fight against malnutrition, poverty and HIV and AIDS in the area, described malnutrition indices in the area as disturbing.
She, however, commended the council for the efforts, particularly the immediate past Caretaker Committee Chairman, Alhaji Bayyabu Paki, who facilitated the allocation and timely release of funds to tackle the problem.
Bartholomew revealed that a recent survey in the area helped to uncover more than six cases of acute malnourished children in less than a week, adding that the number kept increasing by the day.
She said “these children would die if not treated. Although we have been able to place most of them on treatment, some parents rejected the offer.
“Not only that, there are hundreds of malnourished children out there that are yet to be discovered.”
The nutritionist said that with support from another NGO, Save the Children, the Food and Nutrition Committee was able to scale-up intervention from 10 to 20 communities in the area.
She called for more support from stakeholders to help stem malnutrition in the area and the state at large.
She blamed the rising malnutrition cases in the area to ignorance on the part of
mothers and caregivers on how to properly feed infants and children.
She said the training of the health officers and care givers on IYCF with focus on exclusive breastfeeding, early initiation of breastfeeding, complementary feeding and homestead garden among others was a sure step in addressing the problem. (NAN)