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FG Trains 57 Front Line Health Workers to Address Nutrition Problem

The Federal Government has trained 57 front line health workers on nutrition to enhance optimal Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) communication and services to Nigerians.

The project was funded by the World Bank at the tune of 232 million dollars.

The world bank in partnership with the government is implementing a five-year nutrition programme called the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN).

The aim of the project was to increase quality and cost-effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children under five years of age.

Mrs. Lawal-Aiyedum Olubunmi, Chief Executive Officer, Maternal Adolescent and Reproductive Child Healthcare (MARCH) initiative, told NAN that she would promote and support breastfeeding at the grassroots.

According to her, as a Pediatric Nurse, she would work with some of the participants to train the nurses on proper information on nutrition.

“I want to focus on the nurses because they are the foundation of health care system.

“So, when they get it right everybody will get it right because nurses play a vital role in the area of communication and counselling the mothers.

” The nurses work starts from antenatal, delivering of the baby, immunisation and postnatal which is the right avenue to educate mothers on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding,” Olubunmi said.

She promised to cooperate with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives and the National Association of Pediatric Nurses Practitioners to achieve her goal on addressing nutrition problems in Nigeria.

According to her, she planned to train student nurses because they need to have the skills earlier.

Olubunmi advocated the establishment of creches for breastfeeding mothers within the informal sectors to enable them practice exclusive breastfeeding.

“We need to educate women on what is called early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding for two years or beyond,” she said.

Olubunmi called on wives of the governors and other women associations to ensure they educate mothers whenever they have programme.

According to her, she will partner with stakeholders to address the needs of children leaving with special needs.

“For children with abnormalities feeding them is a different thing,” she said.

Also, Mr Abba Kyari, Nutrition Officer, NPHCDA, a participant said that complementary feeding has to be age appropriate.

Kyari said that the frequency of giving appropriate food with two to three snacks four times a day was learnt.

He said, “When the child keeps growing the feeding pattern also changes, that means density of the food giving to the child changes.”

Kyari said that he would ensure that healthcare workers are trained on the new ways of practicing exclusive breastfeeding.

He said the training was an eye opener as a lot of new things were learnt.

“The training will help us draw an action plan to various agencies and ministries to see how we can collaborate with the ministry of health to implement various programmes in the community to reduce malnutrition in the country.

“We will ensure that training will be cascaded at the state level, local government level and the health care workers.

” The healthcare workers are at the frontline that will be responsible for providing counselling to the mothers and caregivers and also at the community level,” he said.

Mrs. Sarah Ohuche, NPHCDA, also a participant, said that what she knew before was different from what was taught.

Ohuche said that the training would be extended to the health workers, down to the local government and the health facilities to teach them what she learnt.

According to her, the new methods that are being used now is WHO standard and I hope to cascaded to the local and state level.