Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has pledged to ratify the State Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition aimed at reducing stunting and malnutrition in the state, in line with his administration’s adoption of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition and domestication of the National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition.
The pledge was made by Gov. Ugwuanyi yesterday during a joint advocacy visit by the UNICEF Enugu State Field Office led by the Chief Field Officer, Mrs. Juliet Chiluwe, and the State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN) led by the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr. David Ugwunta.
The governor, who was delighted at the concerted efforts of the joint committee, reiterated his administration’s commitment to the fight against malnutrition in Enugu State by continuously supporting nutrition interventions particularly through the FCDO/UNICEF Progressing Action for Resilient Systems for Nutrition through Innovation and Partnership (PARSNIP) programme in the state.
The PARSNIP, a grant matching-fund programme, is aligned with UNICEF’s commitments to the prevention, early detection and treatment of Child wasting while promoting government’s leadership in the programme.
The joint advocacy visit to Gov. Ugwuanyi heralded the first coordination meeting of partners and stakeholders on nutrition and PARSNIP, which took place on Thursday, at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Enugu, with the Theme: “Prioritising Investment in Maternal, Infant, Young Child and Adolescent Nutrition – A key to sustainable Development in Enugu State”.
Noting that malnutrition is hampering the survival and development of children in the state and the nation, the governor stressed the significance of PARSNIP programme in curbing stunting and malnutrition in the state and beyond.
Speaking, the Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, Mrs. Chiluwe, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for the milestone achievements of his administration in the health sector, especially with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, disclosing that the essence of the visit was to discuss the need to improve nutrition for women and children.
Mrs. Chiluwe stated that “keying into the first 1,000 days of a child’s life will reverse malnutrition in the state especially with respect to infant and young child feeding practices.”
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, said that the visit was paramount in addressing the urgent need to consider, approve and implement the state policy document on nutrition and to ensure that the outcome of the engagement is included in the state budget.
Dr. Obi also commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for his steadfastness in the payment of all counterpart funded projects in the state particularly as it relates to the health sector.
In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr. Ugwunta, thanked UNICEF for its support and interventions in Enugu State most importantly, seeing to the Enugu State Multi-sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition, which is awaiting the State Executive Council’s ratification, becoming a reality.
The Commissioner pointed out that the policy document, when operational, will provide a pathway for investments in nutrition-related activities by the state government, partners, donors, and the organised private sector.
Dignitaries at the event include the Deputy Governor, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. George Ugwu, other members of the State Committee on Food and Nutrition including Prof. Lizzy Ngwu of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, UNN representing the academia, and Mrs. Onyinye Mamah who represented the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria.
Other members of the committee present include, the Acting Chairman of the State Committee on Food and Nutrition, Mr. Edwin Anukwe, the State Nutrition Officer, Mrs. Henrietta Ugwu and other staff of UNICEF, Enugu Field Office.