The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the introduction of Micronutrient Powder (MNP) complementary home-based food fortification programme in Kaduna State signifies a new era of preventing malnutrition in the state.
Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, stated this in Zaria on Tuesday, at the opening of a two-day training of health workers on MNP as an effective strategy in prevention of malnutrition.
Ezeife said that Kaduna state had declared zero tolerance on malnutrition through the implementation of Community-Infant and Young Child Feeding practice across 22 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
She added that the MNP programme to be implemented in Zaria, Igabi and Zangon Kataf LGAs was another strategy to prevent malnutrition among children aged between six and 59 months.
She said that the MNP designed as a home-based fortification of complementary feeding was enriched with 15 vitamins and minerals needed for a well-nourished, healthy growth, and development of children under five years.
According to her, the goal is to contribute to improving the nutritional status of children under five years in the state.
“We are in the era of prevention of all kinds of malnutrition in Kaduna State and following the MNP programme, no child will be allowed to become malnourished.
“For sustainability and tracking performance, health systems and community structures will be integrated in the implementation of the programme in the LGAs.”
Earlier, Mr Samari Bawa, Nursing Officer, Federal Ministry of Health, said that the Federal Government was scaling up the MNP intervention in 24 states across the country with Kaduna as one of the benefiting states.
Bawa said that the MNP programme would be implemented by the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board with support from the Federal Ministry of Health and UNICEF to benefit 96,000 children.
He said that the objective of the training was to build capacity on knowledge and skills of state level nutrition and health workers on standard protocols and use of MNP for home fortification.
“The training was also organised to build their capacity on effective integration of MNP services into existing health system
“We also want to build the capacity of the health workers on effective MNP data tracking, management and accountability,” he said.
Dr Neyu Iliyasu, Director, Family and Community Health Services, SPHCDB said that 30 health workers were being trained for the programme.
Iliyasu, represented by the State Nutrition Officer, Mrs Ramatu Haruna, said that the participants were made up of eight health workers from primary, secondary, and tertiary health facilities in each of the LGAs.
Others, according to him, were officials from the ministry of health and state primary healthcare development board, adding that the training would prepare the health workers for the implementation of the MNP programme.
Ms Oluwaseun Oladiran, Nutrition Officer, UNICEF Abuja, commended Kaduna state government for creating an enabling environment for nutrition programmes in the state.
Oladiran identified health workers as “critical stakeholder” in the implementation of the MNP programme and urged them to strive hard to ensure success of the programme. (NAN)