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Malnutrition: UNICEF trains Plateau health workers on child feeding practices

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The United Nations Children’s Find (UNICEF) has organised a three-day training on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices for health workers in Plateau.

The training was organised in collaboration with the Plateau State Primary Health Care Board (PSHPHCB)The Chief of UNICEF’s Bauchi Field Office, Mr Bahnu Pathak, who spoke at the event on Monday in Jos, said the training was aimed at preventing malnutrition among children in the state.

Represented by Dr Rajia Sharhan, Pathak said UNICEF had a responsibility to cater for the nutrition needs and development of every child below the age of five.

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Dr Sharhan is the nutrition specialist at the UNICEF’s Bauchi Field Office. Pathak, who decried the soaring rate of malnutrition among children in the North, explained that the training would provide a long-term solution to the imminent challenge, particularly stunting.

“UNICEF is responsible for the nutrition need and development of every child under-five, so this training is one vital exercise for the prevention of malnutrition in children.

“It is developed and initiated to prevent future malnourished children. This simply means that we are not just concerned about the now, but the future consequences of malnutrition.

“We have seen that malnutrition among children is on the rise, particularly in the North and if nothing is urgently done we will be in for it.

“According to the indicators, Plateau situation is stable, but moderate acute malnutrition and stunting, which is irreversible is on the rise,” he said.

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The chief of field office said urgent steps needed to be taken to avert the situation, insisting that if nothing was done, the future damages would be irredeemable.

“The problem is that if we don’t feed and treat these children properly now, we will not be able to treat them in future because by then the damage must have been done already.

“So, this training is to prevent the damages that may occur, especially in the first 1000 days from the conception of the child,” he said.

Pathak advised pregnant women and lactating mothers to do exclusive breast feeding and proper complementary feeding for their children to secure a healthy future for them.

Declaring the training open, Dr Livinus Miapkwap, the Executive Secretary of the health care board, described the training as apt.

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Miapkwap, who tanked UNICEF for the initiative, said the programme would enable breastfeeding mothers to use rich local food to fight malnutrition in their children.

According to him, the exercise will lead to the birth of the IYCF support groups in the rural communities.He also said that the training would be expanded to other local government areas of the state and urged the participants to spread the knowledge gained to others in their various areas.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training drew participants from Shendam, Jos North and Mangu local government areas.

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