By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of measures to improve Maternal Infant Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN), for better health and wellbeing outcome for women and children in Kaduna State, Alive and Thrive (A&T), said the media has a role to play.
Zonal Coordinator of A&T, Sarah Kwasu, at a media roundtable organized in collaboration with the Kaduna State Primary Healthcare Board, noted that the media has a role to enlighten parents on the type of food the child needs and at what time, they are required.
According to her, the public needs to know the implication of the kind of supplements they are giving their children and wards as far as malnutrition is concerned.
She explained that recognizing the importance of maternal nutrition for better health and wellbeing outcomes for both women and their children is something the media practitioners need to acquit themselves with in other to be able to help in disseminating the right messages.
While noting that part of A&T’s component is mass communication and mass media which is a proven way of conveying MIYCN messages to the public; Kwasu, said the meeting therefore intended to sensitize participants on MIYCN and the need for them to intentionally produce and support MIYCN focused/sensitive programmes.
On her part, Kaduna Office Desk Officer of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Agency Control, (NAFDAC), Rahila Maishanu, urged media practitioners to protect breastfeeding by rejecting any advertisements promoting Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) products, because NAFDAC does not issue advert permits for BMS.
She emphasized that breast feeding is a high impact, low technology, cost effective intervention for child survival and optimal cognitive sustainability.
Maishanu, explained that part of the agency’s move to promote MIYCN as empowered by law under the provisions of the NAFDAC Act Cap N1 LFN 2004 birthed a Code to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, to ensure proper use of breast milk substitutes on the basis of adequate information through appropriate marketing and distribution.
She said, the code barred the advertisements of Breastmilk Substitutes (BMS) and related products such as feeding bottles, teats, pacifiers, etc, to the public.
The use of printed materials including books, pamphlets or posters bearing the name, logo, graphic or other representation of a proprietary product or the name or logo of a manufacturer or distributor. Advertising in publication by television, internet, radio, film, video or telephone, Traditional communication media, by display or signs, bills boards, exhibition of pictures or models and in any other manner. Was also prohibited according to her.
She therefore, said for the media to play to their adequately, there is need for them to become familiar with laws and regulations on marketing breast milk substitutes in Nigeria. Train their staff to identify and report violations of the Code or related National Regulations, etc.
The Assistant State Nutrition Officer, Primary Healthcare Board, Mr. Adams George stated that the stakeholder identified by the government in the area of malnutrition and working very closely with them to prevent escalation of Malnutrition in the state is Accelerating Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) which is a world bank Project.
He noted that ANRiN, special attention is being giving to mothers because if the mother is malnourished there is no how the child will not be malnourished and that ANRiN is providing funding for support deployed to nutritional needs and reduce Children and maternal mortality.