As part of its effort to arrest the high rate of malnutrition among children in Zamfara, the Zamfara State House of Assembly committee on Finance and appropriation, has approved N100 million for nutrition activities in the state.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Aliyu Ango Kagara, stated this yesterday while responding to a request filed by the Coalition of Civil society organisations working on maternal, newborn and child health during 2016 state ministry of health budget defense held at assembly complex in Gusau.
He said, there was need for the state assembly to increase funds for health sector as against what has been proposed for the 2016 fiscal year by the executive arm of government.
Hon. Aliyu Ango said the house has considered the interest of citizens, particularly caregivers for adequate allocation of funds to complement the effort of development partners; Save the Children and UNICEF in fighting malnutrition among children of the state.
The chairman, while assuring the coalition group of the assembly’s interest to provide additional resources for nutrition before the end of the year as soon as the approved N100million was released to the ministry of health, expressed the assembly’s commitment to look into other requests as contained in the paper presented to the committees before the passage of the appropriation bill.
Earlier, State Coordinator of the Coalition, Alhaji Ibrahim Tudu said data from the State Ministry of Health indicated that in 2015, over 31,970 children of the state were admitted into various community management for acute malnutrition centres across the state, adding that out of this number 480 children of Zamfara State died as a result of malnutrition.
The group expressed concern over unsatisfactory figure of N4billion representing N3.7% of the state total budget to the health sector for 2016 while transport sector took the highest allocation of this year’s budget worth N20billion representing 18% of the state budget.
‘’We also wish to observed that there was no provision under the State health sector budget to enable the state access its share from Federal Government One percent of its consolidated revenue through the Implementation of National Health Act2014 in Zamfara and realization of Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria, ‘said Coalition.
The coalition told the committee that provision of counterpart funds (N109million) had not been captured in the state health sector budget to enable the state meet the Memorandum Of Understanding that was signed between Zamfara State government, Bill and Melinda Gates and Dangote Foundations for strengthening State Vaccine Cold Chain Infrastructure early this year in Abuja.