Source The Sun

LAGOS, Nigeria--The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed plans to reach 35,000 children with its newly introduced Progressing Action on Resilient System for Nutrition through Innovation and Partnership (PARSNIP) programme in Gombe.

The agency revealed that the programme is aimed at preventing malnutrition while caring for children with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) in the state.

Addressing newsmen shortly after flagging off a five days training workshop for community and health workers in Gombe, Philomena Irene, Nutrition Specialist from the Bauchi field office of UNICEF explained that the target was children between the age of 6 to 24 months.

She said that the capacity building programme for health and community workers aims to equip the workers with the needed knowledge to manage MAM so as to prevent malnutrition.

The Nutrition Specialist said that the intervention will be piloted in two out of the 11 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Gombe State.

“That is in Kwami and Kaltungo LGA. We will be teaching the health workers how to manage MAM with a new commodity called Small Quantity Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplement (SQ-LNS) formula.

“We will be linking that with the appropriate maternal, infant and young child feeding in the state. We will also be empowering the mothers with the capacity to detect malnutrition at the onset before it turns worst so that they don’t present the cases when it is in the worst form to the facility,” Philomena said.

She further stated that “With this, we are hoping that we will be able to reach 35,000 children that are at the age between 6 to 24 months in Gombe state, particularly in the two LGAs, while we will also teach the mothers, appropriate diets and also appropriate complementary food for those children.”

While noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a lot of families into poverty, Philomena also said that the five years programme will also be looking at communities with a view to empowering the community and religious leaders, “it is not just one size fits all, just health sector response, no.

We need to look at communities and social responses, we will be working more with social protection programmes in the state to ensure that mothers or families going through hardship at least benefit from the social protection programmes.”

She also added, saying “they will be the Agric component of the programme which is the consumption of Orange, Flesh, Potatoes, where mothers will be taught how to make delicious recipes for their children because that is unset of malnutrition in most cases.”