By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna.
UNICEF trains 238 volunteers on infant and young child feeding as part of effort to promote optimal breastfeeding and educate mothers on proper feeding of their children in ensuring healthy growth and development, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at weekend disclosed that it has trained 238 community volunteers on Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (CIYCF) in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria.
UNICEF’ Nutrition Specialist in the state, Dr Florence Oni, Stated this in Kajuru during awareness campaign organised by UNICEF on optimal breastfeeding to mark the 2016 World Breastfeeding Week.
According to Oni, the training was to promote optimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding and educate mothers on proper feeding of children to ensure healthy growth and development.
She explained that the volunteers were drawn from 203 communities in the LGA, adding that 68 health workers, 10 Ward Development Committee members were also trained from 2015 to date.
She also said that 335 support groups were also established in the LGA to carry out enlightenment campaign activities in support of the CIYCF programme.
She described breastfeeding as one of the top interventions for reducing under-five years’ mortality.
“It could save the lives of 820, 00 children under five, with 85 per cent of them infants each year. This represents about 13 per cent of all under five-child death.
“Exclusively breastfeed infants have only 12 per cent risk of death as those who were not breastfeed.
“On average, infants younger than six months who are not breastfed are three-to-four times more likely to die than those who received breast milk.
“Breastfeeding is an effective, low cost way to boost human capital and stimulate economic growth, while also given the children equal opportunity to thrive from the start, “she said.
She therefore urged men to support their wives and help them with some house chores to allow them time to breastfeed their children.
According to her, feeding of children the right way is investing for a better future, adding that the way children are fed and cared for today determines the quality of leaders tomorrow.
Also speaking, the Assistant State Nutrition Officer of the state’s Ministry of Health, Hauwa Usman, explained that the CIYCF programme being implemented in the LGA was with support from UNICEF and Strengthening Partnership, Result and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING).
Responding, the District Head of Kajuru, Alhaji Sirajo Haruna commended UNICEF for the laudable intervention toward improving the health and the development of women and children.
Haruna pledged the continued support of the traditional council to the success of the programme until every household embrace exclusive breastfeeding for it benefits.
Similarly, the District Head of Kasuwan Magani, Alhaji Gambo Yaro, said he and his community has benefited immensely from the CIYCF programme.
He disclosed that six out of his 38 children were exclusively breastfed and were healthier and stronger compare to the others that were not.