Nutrition Stakeholders Finalise Infant, Young Child Feeding Communication Strategy For Kaduna State

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By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna

Nutrition Stakeholders in Kaduna State on Tuesday began a three-day meeting to finalise Social and Behavioural Change Communication Strategy (SBCC) for infant and young Child Feeding (IYCF) 2016 to 2020 in the state.

The state had in October 2017 commenced the process for the domestication of the National SBCC strategy with a view to improve the nutrition status of infant and young children in the state.

The meeting was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

NOA director in the state, Zubairu Galadima, said at the opening of the meeting in Kachia, that infants and young children in the state are bedevilled by all kinds of diseases because of poor nutrition.

Galadima said that the strategy, if well implemented would drive the needed social and behavioural change in communities towards good nutritional practices for the development of infants and young children.

He expressed optimism that with the right attitude, the disturbing malnutrition indices in state would greatly improve.

The state’s Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Hauwa Usman, said that maternal, infant and young child feeding practices have remained unsatisfactory.

According to her, the rate of timely breastfeeding initiation is 28.9 per cent, adding that only 19.7 per cent mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding.

“Similarly, only 10 per cent of children age six to 23 months, were fed appropriately.

“This resulted in 11.7 per cent of under five years children faced with acute undernutrition, 47 per cent are stunted and 27 per cent severely malnourished.

“Currently, infant mortality rate is 103 per 1000 live birth and under five mortality rate is 169 per 1000 live birth.”

The meeting facilitator, Mr Charles Agbonifo, explained that the IYCF SBCC strategy was designed to change people’s behaviour that result in poor nutritional and health outcomes.

Agbonifo said that the meeting was organised to review and update existing draft, and share understanding and perspective of SBCC strategy in IYCF intervention.

“We are also expected to agree on next step and time lines for SBCC strategy implementation, “he said.

Dr Firima Augustine of UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office, said that the SBCC strategy was designed to make communities the drivers of behavioural change toward good nutritional practices.

Augustine added to make a headway, social and cultural behaviours inhibiting good nutritional practices in communities must be changed to improve nutritional indices in the state.

Mr Christopher Musa of Alive and Thrive, noted that in most communities, fathers get the best meal with the bigger slice of meat at the expense of the children.

“We expects that with the SBCC strategy, fathers will learn to give the best meal to the children because they need it the most, “Musa said.

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