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NAWOJ Partners With Alive And Thrive To Promote Salient Issues On Maternal, Infant And Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) In Lagos

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The Alive & Thrive (A&T) initiative, managed by FHI Solutions in collaboration with the Nigerian Association Of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ) yesterday, Tuesday, 23rd May 2023 held a one-day media roundtable with journalists, especially female journalists to promote salient issues on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) in the state.

News Rain Nigeria reports that the media roundtable engagement and interactive session was held in Lagos at Dovers Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

Speaking to journalist, Mrs. Adeola Ekine, NAWOJ Lagos Chapter Chairperson, said “NAWOJ Is collaborating with Alive And Thrive to organise this programme which is done every year.

It’s a media roundtable for journalists especially female journalists to focus on maternal and infant nutrition which is very important in our society, especially in Lagos state.

 

NAWOJ Partners With Alive And Thrive To Promote Salient Issues On Maternal, Infant, And Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) In Lagos

 

And as female journalists, we want to use this kind of programme to encourage our members to report more on issues that have to do with infant and maternal nutrition because it is very important for us as mothers to be able to feed our children well and breastfeed the well, and it goes a long way.

 

So the programme will help mothers who don’t have information on the kind of nutrients they should give their children.

We have a lot of disadvantages in this regard which include stunted growth, child death, and even maternal death.

So that is why this programme is organised by Alive and Thrive in collaboration with NAWOJ, Lagos chapter to know and discuss what can be done to report these issues better”

vice chairperson NAWOJ, Bunmi Yekini

In another statement, Mrs. Bunmi Yekini, vice chairperson of NAWOJ said; “The media is a very strategic partner in every sector, and you need the media to push your story and your agenda.

Speaking further she said “Propagation of informative/ creation of awareness by media could accelerate the scale of MIYCN in Nigeria despite the challenges of collating information through government health organisations in Lagos and some other parts of Nigeria.

She also noted that for a child to grow properly, nutrients are essential but only few mothers practices nutrition, the need for a massive informative creation of awareness through diverse means, especially the media. She further stated that the media is needed to push stories and agenda, having the right information from credible sources is paramount so as not to misinform the public.

“Media needs to get the right source of information to pass on, what becomes a problem is if the responder is not ready to give audience to the interviewer, which balls down to no story or information that could guide the public on certain health matters, the media needs Lagos state govt, especially in the ministry of health to be cooperative.

She said as far as MIYCN is concerned, there is need for the Lagos state govt to be responsive to the media to aid credible reports, the government angle of MIYCN will further spur alertness and awareness. Going forward, she noted that as a reporter for health coverage, get your story done undeterred with or without the cooperation of the govt by use of experts, and data analysis in a more simplified way to express your information“.

Mrs. Wumi Ajayi, Alive& Thrive project State Coordinator in her presentation said; “The health education of a mother and that of the child is important especially in Nigeria due to the rate of deficiencies leading to death, Stunted growth, malnutrition, over weight, etc.

She stated that the mother should learn nutrition to its fullest starting from during pregnancy – eating the right food, fruits, and vegetables to exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months.

She said during this stage of exclusive breastfeeding the child develops the right immunity against health challenges that could have become overwhelming if proper nutrients is unavailable.

After 6months of exclusive breastfeeding, the suckling child should be given a supplementary of alternative food in addition to breastfeeding. It is important to note that knowing what you give to a child as food determines his or her well-being as a result.

The media is needed to sensitize the women on the appropriate food to give their children without having to spend much yet attain the right nutritional value.

“Globally, 295,000 women died due to pregnancy-related causes and 2.5 million newborns died within the first month of life.

“Nigeria accounts for over 34 per cent of global maternal deaths.

The risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, or after an abortion for a Nigerian woman is one in 22, compared to one in 49,000 in developed countries.

She said “95 per cent of these deaths were preventable nut Nigeria loses about 2,313 children daily translating to 844,321 under-five children deaths annually.

 

She added that mother’s nutrition status and health, both before and during pregnancy, had significant effects on the outcome of her child.

“A baby’s birth weight, rate of postnatal growth, and chances of survival are all influenced by the mother’s health and dietary intake.

“Good nutritional status before, during, and after pregnancy optimises maternal health and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications, birth defects, and chronic disease in her children in later adulthood.”

Noting nutrition as a fundamental human right and requirement, she said good maternal nutrition status reduced the risk of anemia and pregnancy complications, among other effects.

She said that lasting progress in global health and development was achievable through improving nutrition during the critical 1,000 days beginning with adequate maternal nutrition.

She called on media houses to endorse programs that promoted optimal feeding practices for infants and young children.

Saying the role of the media cannot be overemphasised in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding.

Finally, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi, NUJ Chairman Lagos state council said; “The program organized by Alive &Thrive is highly commendable as it is meant to accelerate the MIYCN program in accordance with capacity building as ascertained by the leadership of Lagos NAWOJ to provide several training processes on health reports organized for media.

Journalists should also try to emulate veterans in health reporting, those who have created a Landmark and impact as he encourages media organisations to establish health and gender-based beats to produce more journalists as experts in health reportage.

Journalists are tasked to do a lot of case studies and research to further enhance reporting, and enlighten the rural women about the implications of deficiency especially those who do not have access to information on nutrition for MIYCN”.

NUJ chairman also profers solutions to difficulties faced when getting information from recipients in government facilities, he said the media can also get first-hand information from NGOs and other foundations to get resourceful stories for publication.

Present at the event include; Mr. Adeleye Ajayi, Chairman, NUJ Lagos State Council, Mr Tunde. K. Olalere; Secretary of NUJ Lagos State Council, Mrs. Abiola Beckley; Vice-Chairman NUJ Lagos State Council, The Alive and Thrive Facilitators – Patience Agada, Wunmi Ajayi, Adekemi Adubi, Govt officials from the ministry of health and information, female media practitioners, stakeholders, among others.

BY IYABO AINA

Publisher Of News Rain Nigeria