Kaduna State to combat malnutrition with “Kwash pap” an innovative blend of cereals
By: Femi Mustapha
Kaduna State is poised to fight malnutrition by feeding affected children with “Kwash Pap”, a combination of soybeans, groundnuts, locust beans, milk, and other sources of proteins and vitamins.
The cereals are blended and prepared into liquid pap for the feeding of malnourished children.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni stated this on Wednesday in Kaduna when the state’s Committee on Food and Nutrition paid her a courtesy visit.
Mohammed-Baloni explained that “Kwash Pap’’ would serve as an alternative to the highly expensive Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) currently being used to treat malnutrition.
According to her, the use of local initiatives such as the “Kwash Pap’’ is cost-effective and will go a long way in tackling malnutrition in children.
“The committee should work with the State Primary Health Care Board to ensure that every health facility uses `Kwash Pap’ in the treatment of malnourished children.
“As a preventive measure, mothers and caregivers should be sensitized during facility visits on how to prepare the mixture and give to their children as part of complementary feeding,’’ she stressed.
The commissioner also noted that the creation of budget lines across nutrition line Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) was critical to sustaining the fight against malnutrition.
She advised the committee to work towards the scaling up of infant, child, and maternal nutrition in all political wards of the state.
Earlier, Ms. Linda Yakubu, Director, of Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, said that the advocacy was part of efforts to increase investment in nutrition.
Yakubu described the Ministry of Health as strategic to nutrition programming and commended it for playing a critical role in the fight against malnutrition.
Assistant State Nutrition Officer, Mr. Adams George, in his remarks, noted that the nutrition indices in the state had improved significantly because of the various preventive interventions being executed.
In another submission, Ms. Jessica Bartholomew, Coordinator, of Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) said increased investment in nutrition was critical to winning the war against malnutrition.
Bartholomew noted that the state’s budgetary allocation to nutrition had increased over the years from N300 million in 2014 to N2.9 billion in 2019 but decreased to N2.3 billion in 2022.
She expressed worry that the allocation was not commensurate with budget releases to enable the relevant MDAs to implement planned activities.
On her part, Mrs. Chinwe Ezeife, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, said that the Country Office has shifted its support to prevention, integration, and scale-up services to all communities.
Ezeife, who commended the commissioner for her support, explained that the vision was to see fewer children, adolescents, and women in Kaduna State suffering from malnutrition in all its forms.
She said that the strategy, which would be piloted in all communities of Zaria Local Government Area, hopes to address stunting, wasting, and anemia through good diets, good practices, and good services.
She said that the program aims to strengthen the capacity of the government and engagement with the private sector to scale up a set of proven high-impact and multisectoral nutrition interventions.
She said that UNICEF, in collaboration with the Federal and the Kaduna State governments, would support the State Primary Health Care Board to scale up intervention in all political wards of the state.
She explained that the idea was to scale up the Community-Infant and Young Child Feeding, Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition programs as cost-effective preventive measures for all communities in the state.
“The services include maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and care practices in the family; micronutrient supplementation; food fortification and prevention and treatme