By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A Non-Governmental Organization, Alive & Thrive, has said it will engage fathers through a package of community-based interventions to improve complementary feeding practices in Infant and Young Child Feeding, (IYCF), in Kaduna State
The group made the disclosure at its one-day biannual Implementing Partners Review meeting held in Kaduna on Thursday with objectives as follows:
“To understand how each partner’s program is being implemented, managed and integrated into Kaduna state routine IYCF services at the facilities and communities for sustainability.
“To outline each partner’s implementation focus for the State Nutrition Officer, (SNO) to have a clear and full understanding; share experiences and document learnings; to identify areas of partnership among partners; and provide feedback and next step.”
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting, the Nutrition Officer, Kaduna State Primary Healthcare Agency, Hajiya Hauwa Usman, said she was happy that some good partners have come to engage fathers on how to improve children’s food intake in the state.
According to her, the aim of the meeting which among others was to know what the partners were doing, and their challenges the next step now is for Government to assist tackling these challenges with a view to improving nutrition in the state.
Hajiya Usman added that the engagement of fathers in the project which pilot programme has started in Igabi Local Government Area is a good beginning and hoped that fathers in other places will also learn therefrom.
“If we don’t involve the fathers, they may not know what to provide for their family, but by engaging them, they are taught what actually to give to the family especially in terms of adequate diets to mothers and children.
“Sometimes fathers don’t provide the family with the right food to take, but you find them at places like Suya spots, Tea joints also known as ‘Mai Shai’, Indomie and Egg joints among others whereas the children at home don’t have these,” she said.
Also, the Project Manager, ICARE Women and Youth Initiative, Abdulrahaman Mikail, said that one of the A&T innovations is motivating fathers of children 6-23 months of age in rural and urban communities to procure diverse foods to support adequate complementary feeding.
According to him, good nutrition in the first 1,000 days, from conception to two years of age, is critical to enable all children lead healthier and more productive lives; hence, complementary feeding along with breast milk is recommended for children between 6-23 months.
“Exclusive breastfeeding will no longer be sufficient to meet all the nutritional requirement of an infant over six months, timely adequate complementary food should be introduced to the child,” he added.
Alive & Thrive is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments of Canada and Ireland, managed by Family Health International (FHI 360), and implemented by Save the Children, (SCI), Well Being Foundation Africa, (WBFA), and ICARE Women and Youth Initiative.
The project operates in two states of Kaduna and Lagos with some other scale up states across Nigeria.