Opinion, Traditional, Religious Leaders Urged To Join Fight Against Malnutrition

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Some participants at the KADENAP workshop in Zaria

*employers of labour urged to provide creches to encourage exclusive breastfeeding

By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The involvement of traditional, opinion and religious leaders in the fight against malnutrition has been suggested.
Participants of a two-day workshop on fight against malnutrition advocated this as part of its recommendation in a communique issued, signed by Elder Joseph Edegbo, chairman of the drafting committee, made available to journalists in Kaduna on Monday.
“The involvement of Traditional and Religious Leaders as well as Leaders of thoughts as Ambassadors in the Campaign against Malnutrition,’ it stated.
Participants also called for the training of care-givers on the four components of CYICF and complimentary foods.
According to the communique, participants also resolved that exclusive breastfeeding remains the best for infants of 0-2yrs and as such, organisations  in both the public and private sectors are encouraged to provide crèches for working nursing mothers in their places of work.
It equally appealed to the media to develop passion and set agenda for government to take the required action that would address the scourge.
The participants agreed on the formation of a group known as Journalists Against Malnutrition (JAM) to support government in the fight against malnutrition.
To achieve any significant impact, the participants agreed that behavioural change in communication in terms of consumption of locally grown foods and appropriate ways of cooking should be promoted.
It was also agreed that citizens should be encouraged to establish backyard and school gardens in order to have access to fresh and natural foods.
They called on the Kaduna State Government to publish the revised and adopted National Policy on Food and Nutrition in Kaduna state and to improve the nutritional status of the people with particular emphasis on the most vulnerable group such as children, women and elderly.
“Nigerians should be encouraged on good practices of sanitation and hygiene to reduce illness and promote nutritional status of children.
Government urged to promote good indigenous food cultures and dietary habits of Nigerians for healthy living and development,” it advised.
Participants commended the Kaduna State Government for domestication of the State Policy on Food and Nutrition as well as the strategic plan of action on nutrition.
The workshop was organised by the Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP) established in January 2017, by the Kaduna State government to holistically fight malnutrition scourge in the state in three phases.
It noted that the first phase of KADENAP project chaired by Mrs. Ummi el-Rufai, wife of the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai is to urgently treat severely malnourished children who are dying under the age of five, and then those above that age and their mothers who also suffer from malnutrition are on phases two; while the third phase is to bring about attitudinal change to the daily living practice of the people to achieve positive result and sustainability.
Apart from Brainstorming the workshop featured Field visit to a Primary Health Care Centre at Kugu, Zaria Local Government Area, this is one of the centres treating severely malnourished children.
It brought together journalists, researchers, the academia and nutritionists from relevant agencies and  development partners.
The workshop was held from February 2 to 3 in Zaria.

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