Katsina State Government is to raise N400 million to help fund critical therapeutic food, otherwise known as RUTF, for malnourished children in the state.
A significant part of the fund will cover the government’s counterpart cash contribution to United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for the supply of the RUTF, the Katsina State Committee on Food and Nutrition, has disclosed.
Assistant secretary of the committee, Yahaya Ismail, who spoke during a meeting of stakeholders on nutrition and health held in Katsina, expressed optimism that Katsina would soon boast of sufficient RUTF as the Budget and Economic Planning Department of the state had written to the state governor to facilitate the release of N200 million nutrition budget for 2017 to complement the N200 million budget line approved late last year for nutrition projects.
Speaking shortly before Yahaya Ismail made this known, some stakeholders at the meeting lamented that non-release of the funds to finance treatment of malnutrition could lead to increase in the number of adversely affected children in the state.
They urged that the government should take immediate action by releasing funds for nutrition budget line as it critical for the success of the state response to malnutrition fight.
The members of Health Journalists Forum, Ward Development Committees (WDCs) and Maternal and New-born Child Health (MNCH) among others equally called on the special adviser to the governor on budget and economic planning, Abdulahi Imam, who is said to have written to the governor on the issue, to ensure timely release of the funds to save lives of endangered children.
They decried the fact that nutrition had been having N200 million budget lines to avail Katsina children of RUTF among other items for prevention and treatment of malnutrition in the last three years but very little had been released from the approved estimates.
The activists also called for accelerated action and sustained commitment on the part of all stakeholders, especially the government, in the drive to eliminate malnutrition in the state.