Early nutrition key to child’s lifelong devt–Stakeholders

By Babatunde Ayedoju

The essence of good nutrition in the growth and development of a child cannot be overemphasised, as the quality of diet within the first 1,000 days of existence of the child has a lifelong impact.

This was the position of various speakers at the opening ceremony of the Ondo State Training of Trainers on Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition organised by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, in conjunction with the World Bank.

Speaking at the event which took place in Akure on Tuesday, the Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Banji Awolowo Ajaka, said that the business of providing quality nutrition is not limited to people in the health sector, but is the responsibility of all and sundry.

While addressing journalists, Dr Ajaka said it is important for a child to have adequate nutrition, especially in the first 1,000 days of existence, so that the child can have good immunity with minimal risk of mortality.

The Commissioner stated that though this is the first of such training to be sponsored by the Federal Government, the Ondo State Government had embarked on similar exercises in the past, adding that the State Government plans to cascade the training down to the local government level.

Dr Ajaka who disclosed that 60 participants took part in the training said, “We don’t want any child to die due to lack of adequate diet, instead we want healthy and brilliant children. Today, we have 60 participants taking part in this training, not only nutritionists but policy makers and caregivers, because everyone is a nutritionist, so long as you are a parent.”

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Also addressing journalists, the Permanent Secretary of Ondo State Ministry of Health, Dr Adeniran Ikuomola, said that good nutrition is not only about expensive food but eating what is right.

Dr Ikuomola who earlier said that everybody has a role to play towards promoting good nutrition added that those who had been trained would in turn train their colleagues who could not attend the training.

His words: “God has so blessed this country that wherever you go to, you can find good food to eat. Good food is not about eating what is expensive but eating what is right, making the right combination of diet.

“The essence of this training is to train the trainers. That means those who have attended the training today will go back to train their colleagues in our healthcare facilities.”

In his goodwill message, Permanent Secretary of the Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Francis Akanbiemu, represented by Mrs. Lucy Akinkuotu, stressed that nutrition is the bedrock of survival, adding that without adequate diet, there will be impairment and the brain will not be adequately developed.

He said, “Any diet taken in the first 1,000 days of the child’s existence means a lot. That refers to gestation period of 270 days, and a two-year period of 365 days in each year.”

He also disclosed that Ondo State is among the few states that have recruited nutritionists in the Ministry of Health and at the Primary Healthcare level, adding that their impact is already being felt.

One of the participants, Mr Omoniyi Olanrewaju, while thanking the organisers of the event, described it as a very laudable opportunity which he had looked forward to, adding that knowledge gained at the training would not only be applied but shared with other nutritionists.

Early nutrition key to child’s lifelong devt–Stakeholders

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