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Malnutrition: CS-SUNN urges media to promote optimal infant, young child feeding

By Philip Yatai [NAN]


The Civil Society-scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has appealed to media organisations to promote optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices to prevent malnutrition among children under five years in Kaduna State.

CS-SUNN’s Coordinator in the state, Mrs. Jessica Bartholomew, made the call at the opening of a Media Roundtable on promotion of IYCF in Kaduna on Tuesday.

Bartholomew described IYCF as a “high impact cost effective” practice with huge potential in preventing malnutrition among children under five years.

She described the media as a “crucial sector” for effective sensitisation and mobilisation of community members on optimal IYCF practices to ensure uninterrupted growth and development of the child.

She stressed the need for media to support ongoing efforts by health workers and community volunteers in sensitising and mobilising community members, parents, and caregivers on the importance of IYCF.

According to her, infant and young child feeding is a major factor in child survival, growth and development.

She identified the component of IYCF as early initiation of breastfeeding after delivery, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and adequate complementary feeding.

“It simply entails putting a child to breast milk within an hour of birth and exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.

“To meet the increasing nutritional needs, infants should receive safe and nutritionally adequate complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.’’

She said that considering the high cost in the treatment of malnutrition, Kaduna state had adopted a community-based approach to improve breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.

She said that the media roundtable was organised to get the buy-in of journalists to support the state government and development partners in promoting optimal IYCF practices.

Earlier, Malam Salisu Lawal, Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), said media support was key to winning the wars against malnutrition in the state.

Lawal, who was represented by Mr. Shinkut Sheyin, Senior Planning Officer, PBC, said that the government was making necessary efforts to address the scourge of malnutrition, adding,’’ the government cannot do it alone.

“The government needs all the support it can get, particularly from media partners to educate and enlighten citizens on how to optimally feed children less than five years,” the director said.

The State Nutrition Officer, Mrs. Ramatu Haruna, while presenting the nutrition situation in the state, said the government had trained 842 Community Volunteers and 70 ward Development Committees on IYCF.

Haruna, who was represented by Mr. Jibril Isah, Quality Assurance Officer, Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, added that 468 health workers were also trained to provide technical IYCF services in health centres.

She said that media support would significantly help in reaching out to parents and caregivers with the needed information on how to optimally feed their children and prevent malnutrition in communities. (NAN)


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