Stakeholders move to strengthen early childhood development in Kaduna

 Stakeholders on Monday began a three-day strategic meeting to strengthen the delivery of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Kaduna State.

Mr Martins Dangwa, the Chairperson Evidence Committee, Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM), said at the opening of the meeting in Zaria, that ECD was critical to human capital development.

Dangwa explained that the meeting, supported by Lafiya Project being funded by UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, was to review implementation of ECD and develop tracking tool for service delivery .

According to him, the goal is to improve education, nutrition, and hygiene of under five children as well as the reproductive health of adolescents and women.

“The objective of the meeting is to discuss the multi-sectoral approach to the implementation of ECD across the state, and share sectoral implementation of ECD, strategic approach, successes, and impact.

“We also want to identify entry points and citizens integration in the implementation of ECD in the state and co-create a tracking tool for all accountability mechanisms to engage the sector.”

Mr Tijjani Aliyu, Citizen’s Co-chair, KADBEAM, said that dialogue with government partners was crucial to ensuring an enabling environment for child growth and development through provision of adequate nutrition and quality education.

“We want to ensure that all relevant stakeholders play expected roles in early childhood development,” he said.

Mr Silas Ideva, member of the National Steering Committee, Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), described the effort to boost the state’s human capital development as timely

According to him, improving the nutrition status of children in their early childhood is a strategic investment in the state’s human capital development.

“This is because adequate nutrition in childhood ensures the development of the intellectual capacity of children to grow to full potential and contribute to the development of the state and the nation.”

Mr Mustapha Jumare, Citizen’s Co-Chair, Kaduna Maternal Health Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM), expressed optimism for improved ECD services following the working relationship between stakeholders and government agencies.

Jumare said that KADMAM, an accountability mechanism, was working to promote accountability in the delivery of health services and advocating universal health coverage, with key focus on maternal and child health.

Mrs Cecilia Markus of the Primary Health Care Development Board (SPHCDB) thanked KADBEAM and Lafiya for supporting the government to improve the quality of nutrition and sanitation services in the ECD sector.

Markus, Focal Person, Integrated Management of Childhood Illness, SPHCB, said that the board has been implementing different interventions to ensure that every child develops to full potential.

“Adolescent girls were being sensitised about reproductive health in facilities and communities on pregnancies and how to manage it with support from healthcare providers.

“We also provide all necessary services that pregnant women require during antenatal care in health facilities,” she said.

The Assistant State Nutrition Officer, Mr Adam George, said that with adequate nutrition, a child would grow to full potential and contribute to the development of family and society at large.

According to him, the state government is using the multi-sectoral approach to improve nutrition indices among children under five years. (NAN)