Kpakungu Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) is situated in the Soje ‘B’ area of Kpakungu, in Minna South, Chanchaga Local Government (LGA) of Niger State. According to Ummu Muhammad, the deputy officer in charge (2IC) of the PHC, Malnutrition Day is observed every Thursday at Kpakungu PHC. Since 2021, women from Kpakungu and neighboring communities have been receiving counseling and “ready-to-use therapeutic food” (RUTF) at the PHC to enhance the nutritional status of their children under the age of five. This support is provided by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Hajiya Goggo Yahaya, a resident of Kpakungu who had visited the PHC for the second time to collect RUTF for a 1-year-old orphan she is nursing, expressed gratitude for the free service, stating that the supplement had significantly improved the orphan’s health. Similarly, Amina, another beneficiary, reported that her 8-month-old son had been severely malnourished before they started accessing care at the PHC. She expressed delight that her son had gained weight, increasing from 3.5kg to over 4kg.
According to the 2IC, the malnutrition intervention has significantly improved the PHC’s service delivery. “This intervention has encouraged women with malnourished children to visit the PHC more frequently, resulting in an increase in the number of weekly visitors from 10 to around 30,” she said. Additionally, the PHC is receiving further nutritional supplements through the World Bank’s Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) program in Niger State. The 2IC pointed out that many women living farther away from the PHC remain unaware of the intervention.
The malnutrition intervention has brought happiness to the people of Kpakungu community however, they are optimistic that further improvements can be made by
- Amplifying the information to reach more women,
- Ensuring the sustainability of the intervention.