‘Optimal feeding practices crucial for young children, infants’ appropriate growth, devpt’

* As EKSG harps on proper, optimal breastfeeding practices

By Nudoiba Ojen

The Ekiti State Government has charged nursing mothers and care givers to embrace the culture of proper and optimal breastfeeding practices for appropriate growth and development of infants and young children in the state.

The Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Oyebanji Filani, gave the charge during the opening ceremony of nine-day Training of Trainers on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) held in Ado-Ekiti.

Filani, who was represented at the workshop by the Director General, Ekiti State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Ayodele Seluwa, said that the first 1000 days of life provide a critical window of opportunity for ensuring the appropriate growth of children especially when exposed to optimal feeding practices.

He said that over two-thirds of malnutrition related deaths occur in the first year of life in Nigeria and the deaths are often associated with inappropriate feeding practices.

He expressed appreciation to the Ekiti State Governor and Minister of Health and Social Welfare for providing necessary support and for giving approval for institutionalisation of the MIYCN course in the 36 the states of the Federation and the FCT.

Filani also lauded the World Bank Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project and Federal Ministry of Health for providing financial support in ensuring capacity of key decision makers and programme officers are built to provide optimal MIYCN information and services to individuals, household and communities.

The Commissioner urged all participants to participate actively in the training aimed at reducing the malnutrition burden in Ekiti State.

In her remarks, the State Nutrition Officer, Dr Bolanle Olorunyomi, stated that nutrition was one of the determinants of good health thus requires universal coverage.

Olorunyomi noted that the training would not only build the capacity of health workers to deliver quality maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition but would also provide counseling and support needed to enable mothers and caregivers practices optimal nutrition.

She disclosed that the training would be stepped down at the primary and secondary facilities in the state for optimal MIYCN service delivery.

81 participants drawn from the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, World Bank ANRiN project, State Ministry of Health, National and State Primary Health Care Development Agencies, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Budget among other relevant agencies participated in the training exercise.

Participants at the workshop are expected to undergo training in the areas relating to ways of improving counseling skills, adolescent and maternal nutrition, breastfeeding, breastfeeding difficulty and complimentary feeding.

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