–President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria Dr. Bartholomew Brai have called for the protection of infant and young child feeding practices for sustainable Development as everyone’s business, saying that nutrition is a key foundation for sustainable economic development of any nation.

He identified adequate nutrition including improvement in infant and young child nutrition as a catalyst for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030.

In a Keynote Speech presented in Kaduna yesterday at Breastfeeding Hero Awards Organised by Alive and Thrive in Collaboration with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) held At the Hotel Seventeen, Tafawa Balewa Way/Lafia Road, Kaduna – Nigeria

According to Dr. Brai ”the award is timely and very relevant and the need to encourage all stakeholders to continue to do more to support and promote nutrition to ensure a more productive future generation of Nigerians”.

He said the task of improving infant and young child nutrition is a collective responsibility involving all stakeholders including,

“Government: To provide policies, enact laws, provide facilities and enabling environment for better infant and young child nutrition and health services especially at the primary healthcare level, antenatal, postnatal, etc.

“Relevant Professionals/Health workers: To have adequate capacity to act ethically to ensure the provision of all necessary services required for improving infant and child nutrition.

“Community Leaders: Political, religious and traditional leaders to have the capacity to enlighten members of the public on the benefits of good practices of infant and young child feeding and consequences of acting otherwise.

“Parents/Family: To take responsibility of ensuring adequate infant and child nutrition at households. This includes ensuring proper and adequate infant and young child feeding practices, compliance to immunisation, good sanitation and hygiene practices among others.

“Civil Society Organisations and Development Partners: Have the role of advocacy to relevant government authorities and mobilising resources to cater for intervention programmes and services relevant to infant and young child nutrition.

“Private Sector: To contribute in the production of affordable and quality products (weaning/complementary foods, drugs, sanitaries, etc.) with relevance and direct impact on infant and child care.

“Others: Community volunteers, trained traditional birth attendants and other relevant persons have responsibility to assist in ensuring compliance with the good infant and young child feeding practice.

He however commended Alive and Thrive project in Kaduna on Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) for the improvement of IYCF practices and their huge success.

“According to him, The recognition of some key stakeholders’ roles in the successes recorded is expected to encourage more commitment in ensuring adequate nutrition for infants and children in the State.

“Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF)
Understanding appropriate IYCF practices and implementing same by mothers and other care-givers for infants and children is necessary to ensure proper growth and cognitive development of a child. Optimal infant and young child feeding practices rank among the most effective interventions to improve child health”. He advised.

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