National Orientation Agency (NOA), Ebonyi State Directorate with support from United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on 30th November, 2019, embarked on speaking sessions with Community Based Organisations (CBOs) across the communities in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The speaking sessions was held at the Palace of HRH Eze Hyacinth Ijere in Oyege, Ndeze-Echi-Ezzainyimegu Community, designed to engage the leadership of Community Based Organisations to increase the number of mothers, caregivers and other community members with the knowledge of at least five key UNICEF Essential Family Practices (EFPs) to 85%.
The State Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) Ebonyi State Directorate, Dr Emma Abah educated the participants on Essential Family Practice (EFPs).
He said, “The 5 Key UNICEF Essential Family Practices are: Breastfeeding infants exclusively for six months, taking children for full course of immunization before their first birthday, recognizing when children are sick and the need to take them to access treatment at the appropriate health care providers”.
Others include disposing of faeces safely and washing of hands with soap or ash regularly (including after defecation and before preparing meals and feeding of children) and ensuring that every pregnant women receives the recommended four antenatal visits, recommended doses of tetanus toxoid vaccination, and is supported by family and community in seeking appropriate care, especially at the time of delivery and during the post-partum/breastfeeding period.
According to him, breast milk is the first suitable food a new born should receive from thirty minutes of birth to the period of six months, before giving the baby any other food or water.
He stressed that mothers should ensure their babies suck the first yellowish milk known as colostrum that comes out of the breast, noting that it helps protect babies and young children against serious illness.
Dr. Abah while addressing the participants on issue of full course of immunization stated that full immunization before the baby’s first birthday is very important owing to its numerous health benefits.
He said that many children die each year from diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, tetanus, diarrhea, whopping cough, yellow fever, hepatitis B etc. that could have been prevented with vaccines.
He also called on participants to be mindful of when their children are sick and the need to take them to the appropriate health providers.
He mentioned fast breathing, vomiting, continuous stooling, fever etc. as symptoms that a child is not feeling well and as such, should be taken to health care provider for treatment.
In a related development, the NOA boss also insisted that the participants must avoid open defecation and ensure they dispose faeces safely and wash their hands with soap or ash after defecation and before preparing meals and feeding children.
He charged community leaders to inculcate the 5 key essential family practices into their community monthly meeting agenda and communicate same to all other meetings and association to ensure the overall health needs of the community.
On her part, the Representative of Ebonyi State Ministry of Information and State Orientation, Mrs. Blessing Igidi, while addressing the participants said they should always ensure that every pregnant woman in the community receives the recommended four antenatal visits at government approved health facilities.
She maintained that the first antenatal care visit to health facility must be done within first three months of pregnancy, noting that this will pave way for safe and quick delivery.
Responding, the Traditional Ruler of Ndechi Ezza-Imyimegu Autonomous Community, HRH Eze Hycenth Ijere eulogized NOA and UNICEF for initiating the programme.
He described the session as an eye opener which stands to boost the health status of the entire community members.
He further praised NOA for Choosing Ndechi Ezza-Inyimegu Autonomous Community as one of the benefiting community of the programme.
The President General Ndechi Ezza-Inyimegu Autonomous Community and the Honourable councilor, representing Ndagu ward in Izzi Local Government Area Legislative Council, Hon. Samuel Onwe O. pledged of the readiness of the leadership of the community to facilitate the programme across all the villages in the community.Follow us