Development partners and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on nutrition have been assured of National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) support toward promoting appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices in Kaduna state.
The assurance was given when the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Kaduna Field Office Nutrition Specialist, Mrs. Chinwe Ezeife, led the delegation to the office of the NYSC Coordinator in Kaduna State, Mrs. Walida Isa, to crave for the partnership.
Ezeife explained that in spite of the crucial role of nutrition in ensuring national development, interventions in the sector had continued to suffer from insufficient funding and awareness among community members. She lamented peoples’ negative attitude and behaviours towards good infant and young child feeding practices that had impacted negatively on the life and survival of children under five years.
According to her, awareness creation on adequate IYCF practices such as exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding, is key to changing the attitude and behaviour of community members.
The specialist described NYSC as a strong partner with huge manpower and resources which, if leveraged on, would go a long way in winning the war against malnutrition in the state.
“It is on this note that partners and civil societies working with the state government to improve the nutrition indices of children under five years and women in the state see the need to partner with NYSC.
“We want to leverage on your resources and structure across the 23 local government areas of the state to reach out to parents, caregivers and community members on how to appropriately feed children under five years. We are hoping that the NYSC will establish a Nutrition Community Development Service (CDS), group to help change the behaviours of parents, caregivers and community members on IYCF, through awareness creation.”
Also speaking, Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Kaduna state chapter representative, Jessica Bartholomew said that partnership with NYSC was strategic in ensuring that no one was left behind. “With NYSC in the fight against malnutrition, we are confident we will get to every community member with useful information on best IYCF practices.”
The NYSC state coordinator, Mrs Walida Isa, in her response, said that NYSC was always ready for such collaboration and partnership that would get all corps members busy and enable them contribute to national development. “We will give you all the support you need, except the establishment of the CDS nutrition group which will have to take place at the NYSC National headquarters.
“We are in all local government areas of the state and there is one or two corps members in every community, except areas with security challenges. Our manpower will be available for you in the task of working towards saving our children from preventable deaths,” she said.