The Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board on Wednesday urged journalists in the state to promote salient issues on Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) in the state.
The Assistant Nutrition Officer of the state, Mr. Adams Ango, made the call at a media roundtable in Kaduna on promoting issues around MIYCN.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the media roundtable engagement was done in collaboration with the Alive and Thrive project.
He said that according to Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index Report (2015), the poverty rate in Kaduna state stood at 56.5%, while about 1.6 million children risk malnutrition and Over 800,000 children (48%) were stunted.
He noted that public funding of nutrition was still inadequate and fragmented across sectors leading to delays in the implementation of nutrition interventions, with consequent unacceptable indices.
Ango, however, said that the state had deployed strategies and interventions in curtailing malnutrition and its consequences in the state.
He said the World Bank Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project, provided funding for improving nutrition through MIYCN counselling services.
It also provided Basic Nutrition Package services across communities in the 23 local governments.
He added that the state was implementing Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in 87 health facilities in 17 LGAs across the state with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic food (RUTF).
Ango stressed that the media if equipped with the knowledge on key issues in MIYCN, including the code for marketing of breast milk substitutes, would enhance reportage of the issues for the public good.
He said the objective of this was to discuss the role of the radio and television producers and newspaper editors in promoting MIYCN.
Also, Serah Kwasu, A&T Programmes Manager in Kaduna, said maternal and newborn health and nutrition are inextricably connected.
She said globally, 295,000 women died due to pregnancy-related causes and 2.5 million newborns died within the first month of life.
“Nigeria accounts for over 34 per cent of global maternal deaths. The risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, or after an abortion for a Nigerian woman is one in 22, compared to one in 49,000 in developed countries.
He said “95 per cent of these deaths were preventable.”
She added that a mother’s nutrition status and health, both before and during pregnancy, had significant effects on the outcome of her child.
“A baby’s birth weight, rate of postnatal growth, and chances of survival are all influenced by the mother’s health and dietary intake.
“Good nutritional status before, during, and after pregnancy optimises maternal health and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications, birth defects, and chronic disease in her children in later adulthood,” she said.
Noting nutrition as a fundamental human right, she said good maternal nutrition status reduced the risk of anaemia and pregnancy complications, among other effects.
She said lasting progress in global health and development was achievable through improving nutrition during the critical 1,000 days beginning with adequate maternal nutrition.
Also, Rahila Maishanu, the Breast Milk Substitute Desk Officer of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control in Kaduna, said the World Health Assembly in 1981 adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
She explained that the WHA adopted the code as a weapon to protect breastfeeding from the negative impact that aggressive advertising and marketing techniques by Infant Food Manufacturers were having on breastfeeding rates and duration.
Maishanu further said that NAFDAC was empowered by law to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale, and use of foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and others.
“By the law, NAFDAC became the home of the code and the Agency mandated to implement, monitor, and enforce the provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes,” she said.
She noted that the media needed to be familiar with laws and regulations on marketing breast milk substitutes in Nigeria by training staff to identify and report violations of the code or related National Regulations.
“The media must reject any advertisements promoting breast milk substitute products, NAFDAC does not issue advertisement permits for breast milk substitutes,” Maishanu said.
She called on media houses to endorse programmes that promote optimal feeding practices for infants and young children.
She also called for the establishment of crèches in media houses for breastfeeding mothers.
“The role of the media cannot be overemphasised in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding.
“Every consequence of note starts and ends with information and education and the media is believed to be the best medium to both educate and inform the public,” she said.
NAN reports that various media houses in Kaduna, that attended the media roundtable engagement, made commitments on various ways and strategies in promoting MIYCN programmes.