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Exclusive breastfeeding, panacea to children malnutrition in Kaduna – NOA official



Alhaji Lawal Haruna, Deputy Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Kaduna on Wednesday, urged Civil Society groups to evolve new approach to encourage mothers on  exclusive breastfeeding of newborn babies.


The NOA official said the first six month breastfeeding of newborns was a panacea to the alarming malnutrition challenges faced by children in Kaduna state.


Haruna spoke at the ongoing four-day workshop on Communication for Development (C4D) organised for Coalition of CSOs in Kaduna State.


He said CSOs must develop new communication skills to convince mothers and care givers in communities on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding of newborns in their first six months.


According to him, exclusive breast feeding of newborns in the first six months would determine their health, growth and development.


Available data showed that Kaduna state is among states with high level of malnutrition and stunting among children.


Different research results show poor literacy level among mothers and societal norms and traditional values are measure impediments to exclusive breastfeeding among mothers.


Haruna, however, noted that after the exclusive breastfeeding, an appropriate complementary feeding would then follow to enhance child growth.


This, he said, required a mother to feed her baby from six months with three meals per day, while continuing breastfeeding up to 24 months.


He stressed the importance of mothers feeding their children with fresh and nutrient rich complementary foods, while breastfeeding continues up to two years or even longer.


The official explained that increasing feeding frequency and promoting active feeding was key to child development, stressing the importance of providing adequate micronutrients through diets for faster growth of the child.


“Micronutrients are substances that are found in small amounts in different types of food but are very important for proper functioning of the body and for healthy growth.


” Because they can only be found in small amounts in food, some major ones are given as supplements in food or as stand- alone  supplements to ensure that children do not suffer from their lack,” Haruna said.


Meanwhile, participants contributing to the discussions on challenges of exclusive breastfeeding, expressed concerns on complexity of behaviours among communities towards its achievement.


They say behaviour varies depending on the awareness of such communities regarding the importance of exclusive breastfeeding among newborns.


The participant, however, suggested for more support and new communication skills and approach to sensitise mothers and caregivers on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to the growth of newborn babies.


Some of the participants expressed concern over the way people of influence around young mothers, especially mother In-laws and others treat their daughter in-laws on such issues.


They suggested for sensitisation of such family members as well as entire community women to encourage exclusive breastfeeding because  of its health benefits.


According to them, women of child bearing age need support to learn the correct method of breastfeeding their babies.


“CSOs also need to learn new skills to counter most cultural norms that usually deprive mothers from allowing their babies enjoy the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.”


This, they said, was fundamental to the growth, development and health of children, as well as mothers, and could contribute to 10 per cent reduction in child mortality.


Exclusive breastfeeding is feeding a baby with only breast milk from birth until the age of six months, without drinking water or taking any supplements.


The training currently holding in Zaria, is organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).


The objective is to strengthen the capacity of the CSOs on C4D, improve their knowledge on essential family practices and at the end, come up with a C4D workplan for 2020.


Over 40 members of two coalitions of CSOs; Kaduna State Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM) and the Maternal and Child Health Civil Society Partnership (MCH-CS), with some Religious and Traditional Rulers are participating.





Yellow fever: Enugu govt to sensitise public health workers to observe precaution



The Enugu State Government has concluded plans to sensitise its public health workers to the need to observe universal precautions against yellow fever to check the spread.

Dr Okechukwu Ossai, the Administrator, Enugu State Hospital Management Board, stated this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Saturday.

Ossai said that Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

He said it could result in sudden bleeding from the nose, mouth, ear and stomach.

He stated that while most infections could be resolved some could lead to death.

According to him, in mild cases yellow fever causes a fever, headache, nausea and vomiting.

He, however, added that it could become more serious, causing heart, liver and kidney problems along with bleeding.

““Up to 50 per cent of people with the more-severe form of yellow fever die of the disease,” he noted.

As a preventive measure, Ossai said in addition to getting the vaccine, one could help protect oneself against yellow fever by protecting oneself against mosquitoes.

He said to reduce exposure to mosquitoes one must avoid unnecessary outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active.

“Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you go into mosquito-infested areas and also if your accommodation doesn’t have good window screens or secured ventilation, use bed nets.

“”Not just ordinary nets but mosquito nets that have been pre-treated with insecticide offer additional protection.”

He said the transmission of the disease was usually sustained through blood contacts and health workers were always at risk being usually the first contact by those infected.

“Yellow fever is sustained through blood contacts an those who are at risk of being infected are the health workers.

“This is because on daily basis, they have one thing or the other to do with blood,” he said.

He added that it was imperative that the state government should do its best in protecting its health workers through sensitisation programmes. 

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Gov. Ikpeazu inaugurates hospital, electricity project in Ibere community



Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, on Saturday, inaugurated the Obuohia cottage hospital and electricity project in Obuohia-Ibere community of Ikwuano Local Government area of the state.

Speaking at the event, Ikpeazu said that the improvement of healthcare access and power supply in rural communities was essential to achieving even development in the state.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Ude Oko-Chukwu, added that the health facility and electricity project would improve the state government’s developmental efforts.

He charged the leaders of the community to evolve strategies that would be utilised in protecting the projects against vandalism.

Ikpeazu directed the state ministry of health and the state Primary Health Development Agency to expedite action in ensuring that medical personnel and supplies were sent to the hospital.

The governor appealed to political office holders to collaborate with relevant agencies to facilitate dividends of democracy to their constituencies.

In his address, Onuigbo said that the projects would, no doubt, improve the welfare of the people of the community.

Although the lawmaker said that the hospital was built in 1984, he, however, added that it had degenerated to a state of gross dilapidation owing to long years of neglect.

Onuigbo said that in the past, people of the community used to travel to neighbouring community to access healthcare services.

He expressed delight with the efforts made in rehabilitating the hospital, adding that it would address the healthcare delivery gap in the community.

Earlier, Chief Sam Eke, National President, Obuohia Development Union, said that he was delighted with the inauguration of the projects which, he said, would improve the wellbeing of the people.

Eke appealed to the state government to expedite action in providing relevant resources for the optimal operation of the hospital.

He assured that the community would do everything possible to protect the projects from vandalism and make maximum use of them.

Edited by Olabisi Akinbode and ‘Wale Sadeeq





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Medic urges Nigerians to embrace lifestyle medicine to live long



Dr Ifeoma Monye, a medical practitioner has called on Nigerians to embrace lifestyle medicine as a paradigm shift from tablets, for long and healthy living.

Monye, the founder of Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONG) made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Abuja.

She stressed that lifestyle medicine is helpful as preventive and reversal interventions for illnesses and key to long and healthy living.

Lifestyle Medicine, according to the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM), is “the evidence-based therapeutic approach to prevent, treat and reverse lifestyle-related chronic diseases.

“It is a branch of medicine dealing with research, prevention and treatment of disorders caused by lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical inactivity and chronic stress’’.

Giving an example of life style medicine, Monye said “people are encouraged to drink a lot of water because it helps the kidney, liver and sensitive organs in the body to function well.

“Movement and mobile intensity is very necessary in line with World Health Organisation’s recommendations’’.

The medic, who is also the founder of Brookfield Centre for Lifestyle Medicine stressed that life style medicine is preferable to conventional medicine

She asserted the potency of lifestyle medicine to prevent or reverse diseases including diabetes type two, hypertension, mental health issues, cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Monye, therefore urged the people to always apply lifestyle medicine first before conventional medicine in order to always stay healthy.

She also urged medical practitioners and the public to actively participate in lifestyle medicine for an enhanced wellbeing, irrespective of their history.

Monye assured that SOLONG would continue to encourage people to embrace behavioural changes needed for healthy living.

Editing by Vivian Ihechu, Rotimi Ijikanmi

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Advocates call for massive awareness campaign on depression



Some mental health advocates have called for massive awareness programmes on depression and suicide to reduce incidents in the country.

The advocates who spoke in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Lagos, said depression was very prevalent among the populace, yet little attention was paid to it.

According to them, some of the factors contributing to the incidents included social media, poor parenting, environmental factors and relationship problems, among others.

Miss Chinonye Chidolue, said that social media played a huge role in the incidents of suicide, especially among  youths.

Chidolue is an actress, writer, child advocate, and the Founder of an NGO, Child Hero Global Care Foundation.

“Social media gives us that picture of a perfect life; so, people will want to be like those they see and want to live perfect lives.

“It is so unfortunate, because social media has no rules or regulations and so you cannot really curtail how people use social media and what direction they follow.

“Many youths, especially the idle ones get carried away and what is being put up as a perfect picture or image out there puts youths under a state of depression; there is that restlessness, “ she said.

The advocate said one way to break free from the distress that people, especially, the youths found themselves in was through awareness programmes.

Chidolue said: “When you know better, you have to do better for yourself and society. We need to keep teaching society that not everything you see out there is real. “

Mr Toluse Francis, who is the Founder, Min and Health Community, an NGO, urged Nigerians to develop positive psychology.

Francis said most times, people who were depressed were not responsible for the onset of the condition but they could control their reaction toward it.

“Create for yourself an edge to stand and say “things may be bad, but it does not mean that it will always remain like that.

“Let us understand that life is a phase and everything that comes to us will always pass away; depression is real and you cannot bring logic into why a person is depressed, “ he said.

Also, a Business and Marketing Consultant, Mr Benedict Osondu, said the country lacked adequate data and information about depression.

Osondu, who works at a research firm, Benth Plus Consulting, said there was need for government to collaborate with private organisations to conduct qualitative and quantitative research on it.

According to him, such research will help to give better information about the incidence and provide better solutions.

“The essence of carrying out research is to give an analogy about what is currently happening.

“Research exposes you to ideologies, problems, and gives better awareness of what is happening in society and the country will be able to make well informed decisions, “ he said.

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Ebonyi Govt. mandates residents to vaccinate dogs, cats against rabies



The Ebonyi Government has mandated residents of the state to vaccinate their dogs and cats against the dreaded rabies disease.

The mandate was contained in a release signed by Chief Moses Nome, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, drawing the residents’ attention to the importance of such vaccination.

“All dogs and cats owners who have not vaccinated their pets should do so immediately by visiting the veterinary centres in the state.

“These centres are domiciled at Abakaiki (Ebonyi north senatorial zone), Onueke (Ebonyi central) and Afikpo (Ebonyi south zone)

“This is to prevent the transmission of rabies through these pets to humans and keep the state free from the disease,” it said.

In a related development, the state government has assured residents  of effective containing of the yellow fever disease reported in some parts of Izzi Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

The assurance which was contained in a statement signed by Dr Daniel Umezurike, the state Commissioner for Health, urged the residents to be calm and not panic over the situation.

“The state ministry of health, in conjunction with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), among other partners, is working assiduously to contain and also eradicate the disease.

“The citizens are however enjoined to continue adopting preventive measures on the disease which include: sleeping inside insecticide treated nets and keeping their surroundings clean, among others,’ government said. 

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