Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Kaduna state government has educated 80,949 parents and caregivers on Infant and Young Child Feeding, IYCF, information in 2018 as part of its efforts to prevent malnutrition in children.
The state Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Hauwa Usman, made this known on Friday in Kaduna during ongoing three-day training for government personnel, nutrition officials and civil society organisations on tracking nutrition budget in the state.
Usman, who was represented by her assistant, Mr Adams Ango, said that 16,266 out of the figure were pregnant women; 35,487 were mothers of children from six to 23 months and 14,095 were women of child-bearing age.
She said that others were 16,505 caregivers, 9,603 grandmothers and 5,379 men, who were also reached within the period.
Usman said the effort was part of the preventive measures taken by the state government to ensure that children and pregnant women were appropriately fed to prevent malnutrition.
The nutrition officer described IYCF components as early introduction of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding after the first six months.
Usman said that the IYCF was an effective means of preventing underage children from malnutrition.
“Poor feeding practices, inadequate breastfeeding and not ensuring that children get enough nutritious food in the first 1,000 days of life, contribute to the high rate of malnutrition.
“The awareness, therefore, is necessary to address the low level of knowledge, cultural beliefs and practices, which prevent parents, caregivers and community leaders from practicing adequate IYCF,” she said.
Usman said that the state government with support from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is currently implementing Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
“There are also 57 out-patient therapeutic programme sites in 55 wards of the 11 LGAs in 2018. We have also been able to set up stabilisation centres in 13 general hospitals to serve as referral centres for management of Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) cases with medical complications.
“Plans have been concluded to roll out SAM programme in five secondary health facilities and scale up CMAM programme in five local government areas in 2019,” she said.
Earlier, one of the resource persons, Jessica Bartholomew, said that tracking nutrition allocation, release and spending would provide feedback on compliance with budgetary provisions.
Bartholomew said that the measure would enhance accountability and maximum use of resources to increase the chances of achieving set goals.
“Not only that, budget tracking will check the excesses of budget officers,” she said.