Alive&Thrive collab with NAWOJ to sensitize on maternal, infant & young child nutrition (MIYCN)- task media on resourceful information.
By Onome Naomi
Alive&Thrive in collaboration with Lagos State NAWOJ, other stake holders held a one day media round table interactive meeting on maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) on 23rd May, 2023 at the Dovers Hotel to discuss the roles of the media in accelerating the scale of MIYCN in Nigeria.
Attendees of the meeting includes: Chairman NUJ Adeleye and secretary NUJ Mr Tunde Olalere, chairperson Nawoj Dr. Adeola Ekine, The Alive and Thrive Facilitators – Patience Agada, Wunmi Ajayi, Adekemi Adubi, Govt officials from the ministry of health and information, female media practitioners,stake holders, others…
Dr. Adeola Ekine, chairperson Nigeria Association of Women Journalist Lagos State Chapter told the media that Alive& Thrive in collaboration with NAWOJ has organized the MIYCN program of a round table discussion as done yearly to encourage female journalist report more about issues bothering on infant and maternal nutrition . This is termed as very important for the alpha female (mothers) to be able to feed a child with the rightly appropriate nutrition as this goes a long way in giving the proper nutrition for development.
Dr. Adeola stated that the program was also created for female journalist to sit and talk about ways forward in reporting health issues appropriately, a way of giving female journalist an insight into the negative effect of deficiency a mother and child could suffer if malnourished. There is need for mothers to be well informed on nutritional values for children which includes a balanced diet with little or no cost yet satisfying and highly nutritional in avoidance of deficiency that could make a child go sickly. She tasked journalist to report more of such cases by way of credible information to educate the populace especially nursing mothers.
During the round table meeting, one of the facilitator Patience Agada FHI 360/ Alive & Thrive talked extensively on the need to accelerate the scale of MIYCN in Nigeria noting that it is invariably evident for breast feeding mothers to be ignorantly unaware of imminent situations that could arise when a baby is not given the right nutrients through exclusive breast feeding and other healthy diets to have a proper mental and physical development.
Patience interactively discussed the Alive & Thrive initiative, says it is aimed at saving lives , preventing illnesses and improving the health and well being of mothers, children and adolescent. Alive & Thrive since its inception collaborates with the Govt, media, stakeholders and other partners to elaborate on the MIYCN initiative founded by Bill and Melinda Gates foundation with its Nigeria country office in Abuja. Said the iniative has been on since 2016 while the first phase of the project ended in 2021, the second phase commenced from 2021 to 2026.
Recounting what Alive and Thrive hopes to achieve in Nigeria, Patience said:
“The project hopes to achieve a sustainable national program for maternal, infants and young child nutrition through vast information to create awareness that can penetrate into the system enough to be understood and practiced. The audience focus for Alive & Thrive are 3 geo political zones- Yobe , Borno, Bauchi ( North East), Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano (North West) as well as Lagos.
Area of focus to sensitive on MIYCN in Nigeria is bothering on issues of Stunted growths, anemia, low birth weight, child overweight. Patience also noted that it is important for employers to create enabling environments for working class mothers to breast feed exclusively as this could help the child with the right nutritional values developmentally instead of giving the infant alternative foods due to disenabling environment. This could also enhance a considerable number of exclusive breast feeding from the scale of 10/100 to 80/100.”
The vice chairperson NAWOJ , Bunmi Yekini took centre stage in the round table interactive session to indulge the media to report credibly and in simplicity, expantiated on the essence of inculcating nutrition in MIYCN by analytic information. Says 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.
Yekini also noted that for a child to grow properly , nutrients is 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. Says 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 medias 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 coverages, get your story done undeterred with or without the cooperation of the govt by use of experts, data analysis in a more simplified way to express your information.
The NUJ Chairman Lagos state council, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi noted that 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 medias. He said Journalist should also try to emulate veterans in health reporting , those who have created a Land mark and impact as he encourages media organisations to establish health and gender based beats to produce more journalist as experts in health reportage….. Journalist are tasked to do a lot of case study and research to further enhance reporting, they should also enlighten the rural women about the implications of deficiency especially those who do not have access to information on nutrition for MIYCN, Adeleye said.
The NUJ chairman also profer solutions to difficulties faced when getting information from recipients in government facilities, he said the media can also get a first hand information from NGOs and other foundations to get resourceful stories for publication.
Wumi Ajayi, state coordinator of Alive& Thrive project 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 breast feeding from birth to 6months. She said during this stages of exclusive breast feeding the child develops the right immunity against health challenges that could have become overwhelming if proper nutrients is unavailable.
Read Also:UNODC Holds Launch Event for the Temporary Evidence Storage Facility at the Joint Investigation Center in Maiduguri.
After 6months of exclusive breast feeding, the suckling child should be given a supplementary of alternative food in addition to breast feeding, 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.
More photos from the event: