By Dipo Olowookere
At least 5 million pupils in 19 states of the federation are benefiting from the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s free school feeding programme.
This, according to a statement signed by Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity at the Office of the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, is in furtherance of this government’s goal to tackle poverty and hunger, and to create jobs for Nigerians in line with its inclusive growth plan.
The scheme tagged National Home-Grown School Feeding (NHGSF) programme, is now in 19 states across the federation.
They include Anambra, Enugu, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa and Niger states.
So far, about 5.23 million school children in these states are currently been fed under the programme, while Kano and Katsina states are expected to be added to the beneficiaries states in the coming weeks.
Also, over 50,000 cooks are currently engaged under the programme.
The school feeding programme, which is part of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s N500 billion National Social Investment Programmes, NSIP, has a target to feed 5.5 million schoolchildren by the end of 2017.
Meanwhile, the school feeding programme is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health to deliver an integrated deworming programme for pupils in all public primary schools classes 1 to 6 across 17 states currently under the NHGSFP in the country.
At least 243 Local Government Areas will benefit from the deworming exercise in the 17 states, including Abia, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Niger, Osun, Bauchi, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Anambra, Benue, Imo, Kano, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Delta and Plateau states.
The integrated programme, which is scheduled for the first and second week of December in these states, will deliver three different drugs for the treatment of diseases endemic to specific states; particularly schistosomiasis; soil-transmitted helminths and river blindness/onchocerciasis. The drugs to be distributed are Albendazole, Ivermectin and Parazaquintel.
Supported by the Federal Government, three facilitators would be within the states for the period to achieve these objectives and ensure that the pupils in these states are dewormed.
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