As part of its plans to end malnutrition in Nigeria, The United State Agency, for International Development, (USAID) has organized an Integrated Health Programme, ( IHP ), Workshop, in 5 different states, Bauchi, Kebbi, Sokoto, Ebonyi, and Abuja.
The program held in Abuja was meant to ensure, that every child under 5 years, lives healthy, and to help eradicate malnutrition in Nigeria.
With this purpose, the workshop, aims, to increase the capacity of community structures, through organized training, to improve the knowledge and skills, of the NYSC SDG CDS group, to help promote dietary diversity, Nutrition/ WASH, and also ensure children under five (5), and their house to services, that prevent malnutrition. To help identify innovative solutions, that can strengthen Nutrition, preventive services, which undertakes; Counselling on Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF ), Infant and young child feeding (IYCF ), Water Sanitation, and Hygiene ( WASH ), Health and Nutrition promotion, and support practices, using IYCF Counselling cards and other innovative tools, to work on the issues around the reduction of maternal and child mortality.
Nkechi Acho, the Senior grants Compliance Manager, working for USAID Integrated Health Programme, and also, a sponsor, During her interview, said: “This is one of the activities, we have given to Heal the Youth Foundation, as part of grants, under contract to carry out for. To handle malnutrition, we understand that good nutrition, is very key, to the health of the mother, and of the child. So one of the factors is, indices that contribute to maternal, and child mortality, is issues around poor nutrition, and malnutrition. As it is, we have given grants to, heal the foundation of the youth, to help us, with insuring that, issues around malnutrition in FCT, are really dealt with.
“So basically, they will be training health care workers, and providers, caregivers, as well on the best practices, to handle nutrition, there will be follow up, in case they identify a malnourished child, so that the child is followed up, and taken care of, to be able to come out of that danger, is basically what they are doing.
“And Heal The Youths, has also identified that, involving youth corp members, as champions, and mobilizers, will really help. Within the corp members we already have, some of them are really nutritionist experts, as students that graduated from nutrition inclined areas, that bringing them young, will help to nurse them, to help spread the news. So, is like spreading the tentacles, they will help in also, the follow-up of acute malnutrition cases, they identified.
“We know, it is actually difficult to take care of families now, as a mother, I see a lot of people that go about, looking for one support, or the other since the prices of things are skyrocketing. So the idea of malnutrition and good nutrition is, within any situation you find yourself in, that you are able to cope. So, part of this training, or this awareness, is a coping mechanism that, you mustn’t be rich, to be able to eat well or to eat right, that is what the whole education, is all about. Because we have identified that, things will continue to degenerate, if nothing may be drastic happen in this country now. So one of the things, we have trained the Heal the Youth on, which they are adopting, and which I witness some of the training, they have done, is even training mothers, on home care gardening, approaches even when you are a tenant, especially in FCT, that there are approaches you can use to even grow garden”.
“I saw a very beautiful picture, of a mother growing watermelon, in a sack, in her house. So, they are bringing up these initiatives, to Educate mothers, that even though you are in FCT, you mustn’t rely on things you buy with your money, you can grow them at a very cheap rate, we have backyard gardening, grow food in the sack”.
Speaking to the press, Gerald Teleh, FCT Chairman, the state Ward Development Committee spoke about the relevance of the training.
Teleh said: “It is important that this training, is taking place, because, at the end of the training, I expect them to come out, and pass such information to our, Men and Women, on the importance of Nutrition, especially to breastfeed children, in Zero to 59 Months, and how to take care of the children from the 59 months, up to 5 years, and beyond, so that, at the end of it, that child will not come malnourished, and at the tender level should feed well, and grow well. Because, we found out that,, traditionally, we have Cultural, Religious beliefs, Cultural practices, the economic situation in the country, is affecting the actual feeding of the family, and that affects the children, and it affects the growth, and development. So, emphasizes on how best, such mothers, and fathers, as very important can provide, while the mother gives to the children. We are encouraging that, we didn’t go on and emphasizing, buying food like indomies, like all these, but you can grow, a small vegetable, green leaf garden, so you can equally have the right type of food all over, so, you can have adequate food.
“So, they are being trained, by assisting us in the community, reaching out to the community members. We are going to use them, as community volunteers, as ambassadors, to pass information, to the community members.
“We have a Community Development Committee, in each of the 6 area councils. We have it in every development health care centre, in each clinic, there is a ward development committee, that provide’s support to people.
“Oversize function, that those clinics are reaching out to provide the services. Certain things that we come in to assist them, in certain things, that they cannot do, we go on Advocacy digit, to the traditional rulers, to the community leaders, then on our own, we contribute some money, to meet certain basic needs of such clinics, to decide to provide information, to our unit leaders, community leaders, our mothers, and fathers, which change their health-seeking behavior, so at that grass root level, we have it. Then, we have the area council level and we have at the state level, so is a creation of the national health act, as assigned by the Formal President, Good Luck Jonathan, in 2014.”
Wonderful Akanbi, the SDG, CDS, Governor Abuja, a youth corp member adds; ” The intention behind the training, is a good one, As a sustainable development goal advocate, we have this training, is oriented, target towards the SDG 2. Which stands for zero hunger, and basically talking about malnutrition. So, I have learned within the scope of Sustainable Development Goal 2, that nutrition, play’s a fundamental role, in the life of a child, and human beings as a whole. So, that’s basically, the most important thing, I have learned, and even in the life of the mother too. Proper nutrition for the mother will be effective, for the newborn child. Because, conception, life starts from when the child is conceived, so proper nutrition start’s from that time, the first one thousand days, in the life of the child.
“The fundamental part, of the impact of transforming lives of being impacted the people are armed, with the right knowledge.
“How I intend to translate what I have learned here, to the community, is basically by educating them, so that the people will only do what they know, or to the level that they know best. In though informing them,I think the best way I can inform them, is when you go to the grass root, and you made this information, very accessible, and very relatable, to these people.
“So, using the mother tongue for example; if we speak to someone, from the northern part of Nigeria, with Hausa. When you are able to communicate, something more, in the mother tongue, the person understands and can be lead, using and showing pictures, using experiences, I think that is very good, to transferring knowledge to people.”