The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has inaugurated the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Academia Network in Kaduna State.
This, the group said was to support the fight against malnutrition.
Mr Silas Ideva, a member of CS-SUNN Steering Committee, in charge of capacity building who inaugurated the network in Kaduna on Saturday said the move would ensure evidence-based engagement of policy makers.
Ideva explained that the network was to elevate the role of academia in driving evidence-based advocacy for improved investments in nutrition.
He added that the network was also expected to strengthen research capacity on nutrition and prioritise implementation of science and research, based on needs identified by SUN member countries.
“They will also leverage their voices to advocate for improved investments in the nutrition sector.
“This is crucial because universities and professional organisations contribute by providing input based on scientific studies and research around malnutrition.
“Thus, interventions developed by the government can be evidence-based and suit the Kaduna state context,” he said.
He said the network was made up of academics from the universities, polytechnics and monotechnics, colleges of education and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Also, Mr Aliyu Hassan, a member of the network said it would provide valid and credible information required to implement, monitor and evaluate nutrition programmes.
Hassan, a former Head of Department, Nutrition and Dietetics and current Deputy Dean, School of Technology, Kaduna Polytechnic, added that the academia would help in improving the indices of nutrition in the state.
“The incorporation of academic platform in the SUN movement will provide the needed linkages between research and evidence generation that will provide critical information for advocacy.
“We are going to be conducting holistic research on malnutrition in Kaduna state and suggest ways and actions to be taken to reduce the scourge of malnutrition.
“This will enable civil society organisations and media to carry out their advocacy activities based on credible data.
“What we are looking forward to is to see how we can interface with CSOs, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to see how we can contribute our quota and add in the quality of advocacy,” he said.
The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, Dr Shuaibu Bala of the Biochemistry Department, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, described the responsibility as a “privilege” to serve humanity.
Bala assured that the caretaker committee would do its best to coordinate activities of the network, pending when election would be held to elect substantive officials to oversee activities of the group. (NAN)