The chairman, Kano State Committee For Food and Nutrition and Permanent Secretary, Kano State Ministry of Planning and Budget, Balarabe Karaye, in an exclusive interview with Judicial Sketch‘s Abdulgafar Oladimeji, spoke on the new nutrition policy and action plan for the state.
What is the current state of nutrition in Kano state?
We have come so far. The issue of nutrition policy did not come to us overnight, we have been working hard for so long to arrive this far. CS- SUNN came to Kano and took it upon themselves to train our officers through various workshops, meetings and what have you. Even myself who is about one year old on this table , I was part of the team that went to Lagos. We were in Kaduna serially, all to come up with a policy and multi sectoral plan of action. We have covered a lot with CS-SUN.
You know nutrition now is not just a health issue, it is now a developmental issue, because it cuts across the issue of stunting and wasting and the issue of stunting and wasting of children in Kano is so serious.
The policy and Multi Sectoral Action Plan was drafted and it was taken first to the executive governor of Kano state, who studied it and directed us to make a case before the state executive council. We thank God, a memo was drafted and forwarded to the state executive council, where the council deliberated extensively and gave approval.
So where are you now, in pursuing the action plan?
Nutrition is fully approved in Kano state. When we held our meetings in Kaduna, we deliberated extensively on the issue on the way forward, the state executive council has approved the action plan, a committee was formed purposely on the way forward. That committee as we are talking has been given the mandate and they should to give back their report to the council on the way forward.
I have forwarded the communiqué we issued in Zaria to the committee to guide them in their work. Now they are working on it and I gave them our nutrition focal person to work with them too.
Who is heading this special committee?
The committee is chaired by the permanent secretary, special duties in the office of the Secretary to the state Government(SSG). Also serving on the committee are the representatives from the ministry of agriculture, health and women affairs.
What role did CS-SUN play in helping to achieve the nutrition policy and action plan in Kano state?
CS-SUN played a critical role, technically and financially in coming up with our nutrition policy and Multi Sectoral Action Plan. Their contribution is immeasurable, like I said earlier, they convened meetings, they trained our staff. As far as I know without their technical support, this may not come to limelight.
Does it all now end with the promulgation of the policy?
The next line of action in our relationship with CS-SUN is that after everything is completed, CS-SUN has undertook to publish copies of the policy as many as possible to be distributed to the general public and the media for sensitization.
What is so special about the sectoral plan of action?
The multi-sectoral plan covers the major part of our economy, where the interest of nutrition is fully covered, CS-SUN made us to know more about nutrition, they supported us in the issue of budgeting, to see to it that the interest of nutrition interest is fully captured in the budget.
What are the long term benefits of the policy and plan to the people of Kano?
The long term benefit is far-reaching because nutrition is all about development, a well fed child and adult are more productive citizens, in all areas of human endeavors, in stunted children their brain and development stages are hindered because their organs are wasted, when the child is fully established to be stunted, the child will lose a lot of advantages in his life time, because the affected child will not develop intellectually , physically and otherwise.
What does the future hold for your relationship with CS-SUN?
It is work in progress. When you reach a stage, another window then opens. I know they have the technical experience that is where we need them most, in addition to the financial support they normally extend to us. We will expect them to continue to give us technical and financial support as we have received both from them over the years.
Your parting words here.
On behalf of the executive governor of Kano State, we extend our gratitude to CS –SUN for giving us all the necessary support to come up with nutrition policy and a comprehensive multi-sectoral action plan. In fact, I am proud of this achievement, particularly that it happened during my tenure.