Published On: Thu, Oct 19th, 2017

JUST IN! UNICEF Assist Kaduna State Government Tackle Malnutrition…

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Malnutrition often leaves children with a skin-over-bone appearance, but UNICEF believes there is a way a mother can help their children get needed nutrition that will aid healthy growth.

There are disturbing malnutrition indices in Kaduna State and the UNICEF in collaboration with the Kaduna State government are implementing a unique technique to tackle it.

Indices showed 57% of children under five years are stunted and 42% acutely malnourished, a situation that the Communication for Development Specialist, UNICEF in Kaduna State, Mr Eki George, wants the state to tackle.

What is required is the domestication of the National Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC) Strategy, for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), 2016 to 2020.

To domesticate the law in Kaduna State, a baby friendly competition will hold among communities in Kaduna State to encourage mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding.

There is a five-day workshop organised ahead of the competition and it is holding in Kachia, Kaduna State.

The workshop was organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with UNICEF, to domesticate the SBCC strategy.

“The baby friendly competition is a new innovation along with high community dialogue and community communication action plan designed to raise awareness around IYCF issues.

“The competition will serve as a platform to motivate communities to fully embrace IYCF practices to ensure healthy living among infant and children under five years,” Mr George explained.

In the competition, communities are expected to practice early initiation of breast feeding, exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding to win the competition.

“To win, we will check to see if mothers put babies to breast within an hour of birth; we will see if they practice exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding using available local food.

“If they do, we will see the evidence because their children would be looking very healthy,” George further explained.

At the end any community that wins would receive incentives that would motivate others to embrace IYCF practices.

malnurished baby

“It is a win-win for everyone. It saves family income that would have ordinarily gone into buying baby formula that at the end does not really improve child health and well-being.

“The community and government would equally get healthier and productive citizens,” he added.

A Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2017) showed that only 28.9% nursing mothers in the state practice early breastfeeding within an hour of birth and only 19.7% women practice exclusive breast feeding.

The result put infant mortality rate at 103 per 1000 live births and under five mortality rate at 169 per 1000 live births in the state.

He said states were expected to domesticate the IYCF SBCC as a social behavioural strategy designed to address challenges in infant and young child feeding in Nigeria.

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