Gombe fights malnutrition with 60,000 complementary foods

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Chima Azubuike

The Gombe State Government says no fewer than 1,000 moderately malnourished babies in the state would benefit from the 60,000 pieces of complementary foods produced by the state.

Speaking during the launch of the 3rd and 4th batches of complementary foods in Gombe, the Commissioner for Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Aisha Maigari, reiterated the commitment of the state to the fight against malnutrition.

Recall that in May 2021, the Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, commenced the distribution of 1st and 2nd batches of the complementary foods. 30,000 sachets of the complementary foods were distributed to each incubation centre, amounting to 60,000 pieces in total.

According to the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey report,

Gombe State has a huge burden of under-five deaths resulting from malnutrition. 

Maigari said, “We have had gaps and we have seen collaboration from a lot of people, especially in distribution. 

“We have designated facilities across the 11 LGA’s where the product is given free. We have so far produced 120,000 sachets of 100grams of this product going round to treat 1,000 children across Gombe State.

“As a Ministry where knowledge is embedded, we didn’t just produce this, we trained women. So far we have trained over 200 women and youths. 

“We have empowered them in the production of complementary feeding. We want it to become a community project.”

According to her, efforts are also ongoing to ensure the standardisation of the product with NAFDAC, noting that by 2022 the state would formulate Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the cure of Severe Acute Malnutrition.

“This one is to prevent and not to cure Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the state, but what we are targeting with this complimentary food is moderately malnourished children. 

“We have been working with the civil societies and they pep us up and made us look inwards and we had a discussion with the governor. That is to say, he is the innovator of complementary food. He asked us to go and work on the formula after about five meetings with him before we finally came out with this.

“As Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, we believe in quality and we worked with NAFDAC, and just yesterday they gave us approval for branding and we are working towards getting NAFDAC number for this product as well as facility inspection. 

“We are going to patent this product so that it can become the intellectual property of Gombe State. 

“We are working with a lot more of others to see if we can produce RUTF. So by this time next year, it will be RUTF we will be giving. We will try as much as possible to curtail malnutrition before it degenerates to SAM,” Maigari added.

Also speaking, Chairman, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Coalition, Alhassan Yahya, lauded the effort of the ministry is embarking on preventive measures geared towards curbing malnutrition in the state.

Yahya said, “This will prevent our children from becoming severely malnourished. As you all are aware Gombe is one of the states with a high rate of malnutrition. Already the state has a high level of children who are stunted or severely malnourished. The state has run out of RUTF for long, which is a curative measure.”

Also speaking, the Officer in Charge, Jekadafari Primary Healthcare Centre, Aishatu Gaddam, while assuring that the facility would ensure proper handling of moderately malnourished children, urged mothers to patronise the facility for their wellbeing.

Gaddam added that the facility was built to reduce the perceived burden on the secondary, and tertiary facilities in the metropolis.

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