By Amos Tauna
Kaduna (Nigeria) – United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Kaduna State government, northwest of the country, has taken steps to improve the nutritional needs in the state.
To this end, a demonstration corner aimed at helping care-givers have experience and technical know-how on the preparation of nutritious recipes from locally available food in the state has been launched by UNICEF
At the launching of the programme at PHC Kasuwar Magani , in Kajuru local government area, wife of the State Governor and Chairperson of Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, KADENAP, Aisha Ummi El-Rufai, observed that poor Infant and Young Child Feeding remain the immediate causes of malnutrition.
She explained that negative impact on the growth and cognitive development of the child coupled with susceptibility to infections, non-communicable diseases lead to generational reproductive outcomes.
She said, “The period of complementary feeding (6-23months) when breast milk is no longer sufficient for the child imposes a challenge as ignorance in knowledge of basic nutrition, proper and informed food selection, personal, food and environmental hygiene practices on mothers/caregivers in Kaduna State play a key role.”
According to her, “The commencement of food demonstration corner set up at PHC Kasuwar Magani will serve as food demonstration site for preparation of recipes from locally available food to help care -givers have a hand on experience and technical know-how on the preparation of nutritious recipes from what is locally available.
“This will provide a practical experience for care-givers to strengthen the knowledge they have acquired through counseling and home visitation. The food demonstration corner is currently set up in only one site in Kajuru, Kaduna state.
“There is therefore the need to extend this intervention to other PHCs in the 23 Local Government Areas.
“The launching of the food demonstration corner is aimed at showcasing the efforts at sustaining and strengthening Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (C-IYCF) practices learned through the implementation and subsequently gets the buy-in of stakeholders for more innovation and support.
“It will serve as a medium of creating awareness on available service facility to stakeholders and care-givers in the community.
The governor’s wife added that the overall goal of the program was to adopt strategies to accelerate responses to improve complementary feeding practices for Kaduna State children 6-23 months old with a view to reducing malnutrition and promoting the health of the state and the nation at large.
She lauds UNICEF’s collaboration with the state government in their efforts to strengthen Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (C-IYCF) programme and investing huge amount of resources in Kaduna State.
The UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, commended the governor’s wife for leading the fight against malnutrition in the state.
She thanked KADENAP for scaling up of CMAM sites from two local government areas to five, providing treatment for more than 1,000 malnourished children.
“This will serve as a model for other LGAs and I call on the state government to ensure that all health facilities in the state have a food demonstration corner.
“Counselling is important, but practical demonstration will make better impact.
“UNICEF will continue to partner the state government in its efforts to reduce infant and child mortality in Kaduna State,”she explained.
Administrator of Kajuru local government, Aminu Rabiu in his address, disclosed that five PHC’s in the LGA were already equipped with all the necessary materials that will enhance the take-off of nutrition corner.
“For now, and in near future, we are going into other PHC’s for the implementation of nutrition corners.