As Nigeria continues to advance the multisectoral agenda of improving national nutrition indices, seven state governments have committed to partner with Alive & Thrive to scale up nutrition interventions. This development was brought to the fore during the launch of the FHI 360 led Alive & Thrive Accelerating the scale of maternal, infant, and young child nutrition interventions in Nigeria project on October 18 in Abuja.
Speaking on behalf of the seven states—Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Sokoto and Yobe—Dr. Tijani Husseini, the Executive Secretary of the Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board, gave assurances of the states’ commitment to increase funding for MIYCN interventions, institute family-friendly policies, support enabling environment for nutrition data demand, and domesticate and operationalize MIYCN policies and guidelines in states. Already, five of these states—Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Sokoto and Yobe—have provided office spaces for Alive & Thrive field staff to enable effective collaboration through joint planning, implementation, and monitoring. The commitments from the state governments where the project will be implemented, kick-started a series of other commitments from other nutrition stakeholders like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to Laurie Rushton, representative of USAID Nigeria, “USAID reaffirms its commitment to sustain its engagement with MICYN in its robust collaboration with A&T through the Accelerating the Scale of Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition in Nigeria Project, to bring life-saving interventions and commodities to the mothers and children affected by malnutrition in Nigeria in partnership with the government of Nigeria.” This collaboration will come to fruition through effective collaboration between FHI 360 Alive & Thrive and USAID’s Advancing Nutrition project.
In a similar vein, the Federal Government reiterated its commitment to the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents and the elderly in Nigeria. According to the Hon. Minister of State for Health, represented by Dr. Salma Anas Ibrahim, Director Family Health at the FMoH, “we recognize the magnitude and the burden of nutrition in mothers and in children under 5 years and we are working together to put sustainability measures in place. We are going to support FHI 360 Alive & Thrive through an enabling environment and in other ways you may encounter challenges.” Meanwhile, in his welcome address, the Project Director, Alive & Thrive Nigeria, Victor Ogbodo, disclosed that the new project on this new award will strengthen primary healthcare platforms for efficient and integrated delivery of maternal, infant, and young children nutrition services in collaboration with government, community-based organizations, and other nutrition stakeholders. According to him, the aim is to drive demand for and increase access to high-quality maternal and child nutrition services in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and Lagos states and at the national level.