by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Lafiya Project, a UK and Nigeria Partnership for Health is supporting Kaduna State Government to incorporate Early Childhood Development (ECD) with Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH).
Malam Kabir Lawal, who is Desk Officer for School Health, Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), said this at a two-day capacity building training on Wednesday in Zaria.
The training was to strengthen the capacity of health managers, ECD Desk Officers and Supervisors on the incorporation of ECD and ASRH.
Lawal explained that the training was being supported by Lafiya, a UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office-funded health project.
According to him, the goal is to promote the general wellbeing of the child and prepare children to cope with the challenges confronting adolescents to enable them grow into healthy adulthood.
One of the facilitators, Mr Abdulrahaman Mikhail, said that the objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of participants to deliver effective ECD and ASRH programmes.
Mikail added that the training was also designed to promote children’s development from early age and integrate it with sexual and reproductive health as the children grow into adolescence.
He said that the training would enable the participants to identify barriers and opportunities for effective implementation of ECD and ASRH programmes.
The lead resource person, Hajiya Amina Ndatsu, said that ECD was concerned with all the care, support and interventions required for the survival, growth, and development of the child, from conception to five years.
Ndatsu said that the ECD requires a multi-sectoral approach covering health, education, nutrition, and child protection, among others.
She also explained that, ASRH was concerned with adolescent sexuality, pregnancy, childbirth, health, nutrition, family planning, antenatal and postnatal care, breastfeeding and young child-feeding, among others.
According to her, integrating ECD and ASRH services will ensure adequate care for children and adequately prepare them to cope with the challenges of adolescence and adulthood.
“Therefore, ECD cannot be separated from ASRH for effectiveness because they are interwoven. This is because young mothers cannot effectively raise their children without the knowledge of how to have safe pregnancies, deliveries, childcare, as well as their nutritional needs and that of their babies.
“ECD service providers need to know about ASRH because of the constant contact with adolescents,” she said.
Lafiya and the Kaduna State Government had on Monday sensitized religious and traditional leaders across the 23 local government areas on ECD and ASRH programmes to enlist their support for effective implementation.