Kaduna State Government has set a process in motion to domesticate the National Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC) Strategy, for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), 2016 to 2020 in the state.
Mr Eki George, Communication for Development Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, made this known in Kachia, on Tuesday, at a five-day SBCC IYCF domestication workshop.
The workshop was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
George explained that 65 per cent of nutrition problem in the country was associated with communication; this according to him pushed the Federal Government to design the national IYCF SBCC strategy document.
He said that the document provides strategic guidelines in the implementation of IYCF SBCC strategy in the country.
He added that the strategy was hinged on effective advocacy and social mobilisation to change people’s behaviour, toward effective infant and young child feeding that will ensure healthy development of the child.
According to him, the goal was to use communication to change people’s behaviour towards IYCF practices that would improve the nutritional status, growth, development, health, and survival of infants and young children in the state.
“Social behavioural change is not an activity but a process that looks at why people behave the way they do, why they do what they do and how informed they are and then designed strategies to change their negative behaviours for good.
“The change in behaviour helps people makes healthier decision in life that is not only beneficial to them but to their communities, institutions and the nation in general.”
The national SBCC IYCF strategy document, indicate a set target of 50 per cent early initiation of breast feeding within an hour of birth from the current 33.2 per cent by 2020.
It also target 50 per cent children to be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, from the current 17.4 per cent and 80 per cent of children receiving appropriate complementary feeding.
George said that the strategy has already been domesticated in Nasarawa and Niger states, adding that Kaduna state would look at the national target and decides what it can achieve and how.
A nutrition officer in the state, Hajiya Hauwa Usman said that the nutrition indices in the state have remained worrisome with 57 per cent of children under five years stunted and 42 per cent acutely malnourished.
Usman explained that the development was as a result of the low infant and young child feeding practices by parents and care givers in the state.
She identify four components of IYCF namely early initiation of breast feeding, exclusive breast feeding appropriate complementary feeding and good sanitation and hygiene, which when practice would turn the indices around.
She added that only 28.9 per cent women in the state practice early initiation of breastfeeding within 30 minutes to one hour of birth and only 19.7 per cent women practice exclusive breast feeding.
“As a result, infant mortality is 103 per 1000 live births and under five deaths is 169 per 1000live births, which is unacceptable, “Usman said.
Earlier, UNICEF’s Focal Person, NOA Kaduna, Malam Lawal Haruna, said that the objective of the workshop was for the relevant stakeholders on nutrition to look at the national goals and strategy and set achievable goals based on the state peculiarities.
Haruna added that the workshop would also enable the stakeholders to design effective strategy for IYCF social and behavioural change communication at the grassroots that would help achieve the set target by 2020.
NOA director in the state, Zubairu Galadima, urged the participants to put their heads together to come out with achievable targets and implementable strategies to ensure that the scourge of nutrition in the state is address.
Galadima noted that government at all levels are spending huge resources with minimal result, saying, “this step was to ensure that resources are well utilised through the design of effective strategies to reach the target groups.
“We want to ensure safe child birth and uninterrupted development of children by ensuring that our children and mothers are well and adequately fed, “he said.