Mr. Illiyasu Tunga, Nasarawa State Coordinator of Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) has said that the State has been rated best performing in safeguarding against malnutrition in the country by the Federal Government.
The State Coordinator disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday (January 4, 2023) in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
He further said that Nasarawa State was also rated second in Social Behavioural Change Communication and third in Coordination of Development Partners toward reducing the prevalence of malnutrition.
According to him, the ANRiN project is being implemented in 12 States of the country with a high burden of malnourished children and pregnant women as well as nursing mothers.
He listed the States the project is being implemented to include Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Kasina, Gombe, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, and Oyo.
He explained that the project had started in 2017 when the data on malnutrition across the country was devastating.
“At that time, it was discovered that over 30 percent of children between 0 to 5 years from the mentioned states were malnourished.
“So, the government were concerned about the prevalence rate of malnutrition and rolled out so many interventions including ANRiN project aimed at reducing the scourge,” he added.
He said the project is in four different phases and each phase would last for five years.
“The project was initiated in 2017, but the Nasarawa State office began activities in 2019 and the first phase of the program would end on December 31, 2023.
“The data for Nasarawa State in 2018 revealed that because of lack of Vitamin-A, the burden of malnutrition and stunted growth in Nasarawa State was 33 percent,” Mr. Tunga said.
He explained that the State Government through the ANRiN office had engaged people from all the electoral wards in the 13 Local Government Areas (LGAs) to provide services to the targeted people to reduce malnutrition.
Mr. Tunga added that currently, they are providing seven services to 1, 869, 385 children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers across the 13 LGAs of the State to tackle the scourge.
“The interventions for children include Macro Nutrient Powder, Vitimin-A supplementation, de-worming tablet, and Zinc Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS).
“While for pregnant women and nursing mothers, they include Maternal Infant and Young Children Nutrition Counselling, Iron Failing Acid, and Sulfadoxine and Pyrimethamine (Fansider),” he added.
He explained that with these interventions, the prevalence rate has already reduced, but they are waiting for official results from the Federal Government to ascertain the situation at the moment.
He, therefore, assured the public that the State Government would not relent until the malnutrition burden is reduced to its barest minimum.