Following the continues increase in number of malnourished children in Nigeria especially in the Northern part of the country, Sokoto State government said it will start producing Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a nutrient used for treating malnutrition.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Shehu Balarabe, who disclosed this in Sokoto, said the state government can no longer afford to continue to spend on the importation of RUTF which is produced from groundnut paste.
“In the past, imported Ready to Use Therapeutic Food from South Africa and United States. However, what we’re now working to stop that. We will soon start producing it right here in Sokoto.
“RUTF is highly nutritious and is made from groundnut paste. We also thank God that Dangote is investing in the production of the drug here in Nigeria, so we commend him for that.
“This is the first step of boasting nutrition to have intelligent children.
Balarabe explained that if proper measures are taken, all that is needed in Nigeria for proper nutrition is available and will cost nothing. He added that “breastfeeding can save Nigeria in excess of N300 billion every year. Breastfeeding is part of nutrition and it’s free.”
Earlier, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, Sokoto Field Office, Paul Mudzongo charged the media to wake-up to their responsibilities by holding public officials accountable as they discharge their duties, so as to ensure transparency in the way they utilise funds allocated to children-related issues.
He also urged the media to be in the front burner through their reportage in getting government committed to the fight against malnutrition in the country.
Mudzongo, advocates for a renewed commitment and immediate attention by governments at all levels in Nigeria to curb the trend of malnutrition by adopting a comprehensive state, multi-sectoral nutrition strategic action.
According to him, governments should ensure adequate funding and timely release of funds for nutrition budget line; increasing the nutrition budget allocation and to fully integrate nutrition in revitalization of Primary Health Care.