A non governmental organization in Gombe State, Centre for Integrated Health Programmes (CIHP), has advocated for the implementation of Food Banking in health facilities to address malnutrition among children and People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

Ms. Deborah Zakayo, Care and Support Officer, CHIP, made the suggestion at the Gombe Council on Health meeting in Gombe on Thursday.

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She said the initiative was an intervention to support malnourished children, indigent PLWHA and other members with food and nutrition needs.

“The food bank should be set up at comprehensive HIV care and treatment facilities and also in the community, through community-driven food bank initiatives by CHIP-supported community-based organization (CBO).

“Food bank is a big warehouse where food stuffs are pooled together, stored and made available to malnourished and indigent PLWHA and their family members, using preset eligibility criteria,” she said.

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She urged government to encourage health facilities to take ownership and ensure continuity by establishing linkages with community structures such as Community Based Organizations, to ensure sustainability of the initiative.

Zakayo said the Federal Ministry of Health, through CHIP, should establish partnerships and continuously identify agencies in Nigeria, government and private organisations involved in food security interventions at grassroots.

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Also, the state Ministry of Health, through CIHP, will build capacity of PLWHA and caregivers in village savings and lending associations.

The theme of the council’s meeting is “Strengthening Health Care Financing”.