The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health has unveiled and disseminated the 2018 National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS)/SMART Survey report.
Speaking at the dissemination meeting recently in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said that the report being the third after the first and second in 2014 and 2015 respectively was to further demonstrate the Federal Government’s strong commitment towards strengthening data collection and utilization which was an essential aspect of the ‘’Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results’ (SOML-PforR).
The Minister informed that the NNHS was to provide up-to-date information on the situation of Health and Nutrition as well as measure the SOML-PforR key indicators and other health related indicators with particular focus on six key priority indicators that required immediate action: Skilled birth Attendance, Immunization/Pent A3, Contraceptive Prevalence Rate, Vitamin A, PMTCT, Insecticide-Treated Bed Nets (ITNS).
Consequently, Adewole noted that available reports from recent assessment of the states showed some improvement from the previous assessments though there were still few challenges which he said could be resolved through continuous liaising with the National Programme Management Unit of the SOML-PforR.
The Minister also informed that the Health Ministry had procured some ‘Ready-to Use Therapeutic Foods’ (RUTF) in partnership with UNICEF for the treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in six selected States. 12,000 cartons of the RUTF were handed over to states with the highest burden of Acute Malnutrition. The states included: Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Edo, Osun, as well as FCT who got 5,000 cartons. The six states were picked from 12 states with the highest burden of malnutrition selected from the six geopolitical zones of the country based on their readiness to participate in the programme.
Commending the SOML-PforR for using statistics to monitor her programme and decision making, the Statistician General of Federation, National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Yemi Kale, noted that since inception of the survey, the data quality had improved judging by the data quality score. This, he attributed to adequate training and use of electronic data tools, which he said eliminated error.
Speaking on behalf of the Health sector Development Partners, the Representative of the Country Director, World Bank, Dr. Benjamin, described the report as a great accomplishment by the Nigerian Government, in that, every decision based on data ensured sustainable development in every strata of an economy. He further advised that the Survey should be conducted annually.
The Country Representative of UNICEF, Mohammed Malinfa, said that nutrition was the foundation of life. He therefore appealed to Federal Ministry of Health to release more funds for the purchase of the RUTF and other nutrition commodities. This would go a long way in building a sustainable human capital which according to him was the greatest asset of any Nation.
The report was made possible by the successful collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Health through the ‘Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOML-PforR), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Population Commission (NPopC) and UNICEF.