Kwara State Government on Wednesday flagged off a statewide campaign against chronic malnutrition in the state, with the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) officially launched to boost nutrition among children and women.
The ANRiN, facilitated by the Federal Government, is a World bank-assisted Project designed to encourage consumption of nutritious food/supplements among the citizens of the participating states, especially pregnant or lactating women and children.
“Our decision to key into ANRiN followed the unsavoury news that 238,171 out of every 696,405 children under 5 years of age in Kwara are stunted, a development that is an evidence of chronic malnutrition and a potent socioeconomic threat to the state,” Secretary to the Kwara State Government Prof Mamman Saba Jibril said at the flag off in Ilorin, the state capital.
Jibril represented Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq at the event attended by the Chairman Kwara State House Committee on Health and representative of the Kwara State First Lady, Abdulrasak Owolabi; representative of the Federal Ministry of Health Dr Kamil Soretire; Permanent Secretary Kwara State Ministry of Health Dr. Rhoda Ajiboye; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and Communications, AbdulGaniyu Mustapha; representative of the World Bank, Sangeeta Carol Pinto; Magaji Are and representative of the Emir of Ilorin Aremu Zubair.
Jibril, who urged Kwarans to visit the primary health centres nearest to them to access the services, called the ANRIN a bold step to address malnutrition by increasing the utilisation of high quality and cost effective nutrition interventions among pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children under the age of five (5) years.
“We are proud to say that Kwara State, which could have dropped out of the list of 11 states shortlisted for the intervention, is privileged to be on board because our administration promptly paid the first ever counterpart funds of N50m,” he said.
“This means that our pregnant women and children will benefit from ANRiN as the implementation of the project begins today across the 16 local government areas of the state. By this, our mothers and children, especially the under-fives, will henceforth have free access to an array of nutrition-related treatments across the Primary Health Centres in the state. There will be provision of micro nutrient powders, zinc/ORS to children, iron and folic acid tablets for pregnant and lactating women, high calories food for malnourished children, Vitamin A for children, malaria-preventing drugs to pregnant women, and deworming of children, among other benefits.”
Pinto, the World Bank official at the event, commended the government for keying into the programme, saying the partnership on ANRiN will go a long way in curbing child and maternal mortalities in the state.
Owolabi said the ANRiN programme would help halt the 50 percent countrywide child and maternal deaths on account of malnutrition.
Applauding the World Bank, Federal and the State Government for the project, he noted that the first 1000 days of the life of a child represent a critical period of their brain development, hence the need to access good nutrition to enhance their intellectual and cognitive capacities.
Ajiboye, for her part, noted that the government’s giant stride in health sector is capable of achieving universal health coverage in the state.
She said the government’s commitment to implementing ANRiN project will translate to huge relief for healthcare seekers.
Ajiboye commended AbdulRazaq for providing the state with a focused, goal-driven and purposeful leadership, a gesture she described as a sincere fulfilment of his campaign promises.