CS-SUNN Advocates Increased Investment in Nutrition for Enhanced Health Outcomes

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Cross River – The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) is taking a bold step to address the pervasive issue of malnutrition and nutrition-related diseases in Nigeria. The organization is implementing the ‘Increased Investment in Nutrition to Scale-Up Quality Nutrition Services’ in Cross River state, a collaborative effort with UNICEF, aimed at fostering food and nutrition security for every citizen.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Nkem Eying Ubana the state coordinator of CS-SUNN in Cross River stated that malnutrition has remained a significant public health concern in Nigeria, contributing to adverse outcomes such as poor brain and cognitive development, reduced school performance, and diminished productivity in adulthood. According to the National Food Consumption and Micronutrient Survey (NFCMS) in 2021, a staggering 33% of children under 5 years in Nigeria are stunted, emphasizing the critical need for intervention.

Her words, “According to the National Food Consumption and Micronutrient Survey (NFCMS) conducted in 2021, approximately eleven million (33%) of children aged under 5 years in Nigeria are stunted, while four million children (12%) are wasted with an astonishing 21 million (62%) children suffering from anemia. In Cross River state, NDHS 2018 reveals that 23% of children under-five in Cross River State are stunted, 11% are underweight, and 5% are wasted.”

Mrs. Nkem Eying Ubana the Cross River State Coordinator CS-SUNN on Tuesday in Calabar

CS-SUNN, recognizing the crucial role of the first 1000 days in a child’s life, is advocating for the extension of paid maternity leave from three months to six months. The initiative aims to promote six months of exclusive breastfeeding, empowering mothers and positively impacting infant health. Additionally, CS-SUNN is emphasizing the timely release and effective utilization of allocated funds for nutrition programming in Cross River state, a vital step in supporting development partners’ efforts and contributing to overall nutrition outcomes.

The organization is aligning its advocacy with the National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (NSPAN), a comprehensive guide to addressing malnutrition with measurable targets. CS-SUNN is urging stakeholders, including the government, private sector, and civil society organizations, to contribute to the fight against malnutrition. Their key advocacy “ASKs” include increased government budget releases and utilization for nutrition programming, protection of maternity and exclusive breastfeeding through the extension of maternity leave, and support from the private sector in policy implementation for nutritious complementary foods.

Ubana particularly noted that, “The primary objective of this landmark project is to advocate for the extension of paid maternity leave from the current three months to six months. Recognizing the pivotal role of the first 1000 days of a child’s life, this initiative aims to promote six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

“The second crucial objective is to ensure the timely release and effective utilization of allocated funds for nutrition programming in Cross River. This initiative is vital to support development partners’ efforts, enhancing overall nutrition outcomes and contributing to the state’s economic growth.”

CS-SUNN expressed gratitude to everyone attending the media roundtable, especially members of the media, recognizing the crucial role they play in raising awareness and fostering community engagement on nutrition-related issues. The organization is committed to enhancing nutrition outcomes in Cross River state, contributing to the overall well-being and prosperity of the people.