By Habila Victor, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN) has commended the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), for improving water and sanitation services in rural communities.
The SCFN gave the commendation when its members, supported by Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) visited the Director-General of the agency, Mr Ahmed Munir in Kaduna.
Malam Salisu Lawal, Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, who led the delegation, described Kaduna RUWASSA as one of the “strongest pillars” of the committee.
Lawal explained that the major challenge affecting nutrition intervention in the state was the absence of a nutrition budget line in relevant ministries, departments, and agencies.
He pointed out that Kaduna RUWASSA not only has a nutrition budget line, but also records outstanding budget performance over the years, adding that access to water, sanitation and hygiene ensures a better impact of programmes designed to combat malnutrition.
“We are aware of your feats in providing water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in rural communities which is significantly helping in winning the war against Open Defecation (ODF) and malnutrition. We are here to say thank you and encourage you to continue with the good work.”
Also reacting, Ms Jessica Bartholomew, the Coordinator of CS-SUNN in the state, said that the visit was to further strengthen partnership and collaboration in addressing the scourge of malnutrition in the state.
Bartholomew pointed out that CS-SUNN recent budget tracking of nutrition interventions in the state showed that Kaduna RUWASSA was the only agency that recorded 94 per cent budget performance.
“This is commendable, and we want you to continue to do more,” she said.
CS-SUNN’s Chairman, Mr Ifedilichuku Ekene-Innocent, described the feat as very “encouraging”, adding that access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities was key to ending malnutrition in rural communities.
“I am particularly impressed with your commitment to ending open defecation in rural communities and ensuring access to water and sanitation facilities.
“For us, this is key in improving the indices of malnutrition in Kaduna State and I urged you to continue with this laudable commitment,” he said.
Responding, the D-G, who was represented by the Director, Sanitation and Hygiene, Mr Zubairu Abdulkareem, thanked the committee for acknowledging the efforts of the agency.
Munir said that the agency was doing all that it can to eliminate open defecation in the state by 2023 ahead of the national target of 2025.
He said that Jaba Local Government Area (LGA) and 3,500 communities across the state have been certified open defecation free, adding that three other LGAs would also be certified by the end of February.