The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has described the Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (CIYCF) project in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State as a huge success.
UNICEF’ Nutrition Specialist in the state, Dr Florence Oni told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Kaduna that the initiative was to ensure healthy growth and development of children.
Oni explained that the project was a pilot scheme to deepen caregivers support for breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding for optimal growth of children.
According to her, most communities in the area have embraced breast-feeding and adopted proper complementary feeding.
She said that 68 health workers, 10 health authorities and 238 community volunteers selected from 203 communities were trained to reach out to mothers in the area.
According to her, a total of 2, 400 stakeholders have been sensitized in the area since the project began in 2015.
She also said that the 238 volunteers have established 335 support groups in the local government, who visit homes to enlighten residents on the gains of optimal breastfeeding.
UNICEF had recently carried out community dialogue and sensitization in the area to mark the 2016 World Breastfeeding Week.
During the sensitization, Oni urged husbands to support their breastfeeding wives with some household chores to reduce the burden of maintaining the home.
She said that breastfeeding was one of the top interventions needed to reduce under-five mortality.
“It could save the lives of 820, 00 children under five, with 85 per cent of them infants each year. This represents about 13 per cent of all under five-child death.
“On average, infants younger than six months who are not breastfed are three to four times more likely to die than those who received breast milk.
“Breastfeeding is an effective, low cost way to boost human capital and stimulate economic growth, while also giving the children equal opportunity to thrive from the start,’’ she said.
According to her, feeding of children the right way is investing for a better future, as the way children are fed and cared for today determines the quality of leaders tomorrow.
The District Head of Kajuru, Alhaji Sirajo Haruna, commended UNICEF for the intervention, and pledged the continued support of the tradition council to the success of the programme.
On his part, the District Head of Kasuwan Magani, Alhaji Gambo Yaro, said communities under his domain had benefited immensely from the exclusive breastfeeding programme.