Lagos Partners Stakeholders to Improve Infant, Young Child Feeding

Former Lagos  state Commissioner of Health, Dr Jide Idris

Former Lagos state Commissioner of Health, Dr Jide Idris

Martins Ifijeh

Lagos State Government in partnership with nutrition stakeholders in the state will launch a first ever multimedia campaign to improve Infant and Young Child Feeding practices (IYCF) soon.

The campaign themed ‘Start Strong’ was formally launched by the state Commissioner of Health, Dr Jide Idris in Lagos, recently.

Championed by the state Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA) and the State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan and supported by Alive & Thrive project, with funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the campaign is a unique initiative that will catalyse behavioural change towards improving IYCF indices in Lagos.

The outcome of the ‘Start Strong’ campaign will contribute to the efforts of the state government and its stakeholders to strategically address and improve infant and young child feeding practices in the state.

Lagos government and partners are embarking on this campaign to address the unsatisfactory status of IYCF in the state and the increasing incidence of malnutrition-related infant mortality.

Available data indicate that malnutrition accounts for more than 50 per cent of under-five mortality in the state.

According to National Demographic Health Survey, NDHS 2013, Infant Mortality rate is 103 per 1000 live births while Under Five Mortality rates is 169 per 1000 live births.

Similarly, according to Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS 2017, and the rate of timely breastfeeding initiation by mothers in the state while only 19.7 per cent of mothers engage in exclusively breastfeeding.

MICS 2017 also indicate that only 10 per cent of children aged six – 23 months were fed appropriately while 11.7 per cent of children in the state are already wasted as a result of acute undernutrition.

The survey findings also show that 47 per cent of children under-five years in the state are stunted while 34 per cent are under weight.

A formative assessment conduct in the state as baseline findings on IYCF, identified that barriers to appropriate IYCF behaviors and practices in the state are connected to issues related to poor knowledge and attitudes on the benefits of appropriate timing of initiating breastfeeding, giving colostrum, misconceptions about giving water and introducing appropriate complementary feeding.

The IYCF multi-media campaign is therefore intended to respond to these concerns through evidence based strategic communication towards changing the dire IYCF indices in the State.

The general campaign activities started on November 22, 2018 and will run to the year 2020, across the state.
Some activities of the campaign launch include media roundtable discussion on IYCF, media advocacy by members of the Lagos State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, IYCF orientation for journalists, radio and TV jingles and an across the board engagement and trainings for the media.

To successfully drive this initiative, an effective campaign management mechanism made up of competent personnel from the PHCDA, State Ministry of Health (MOH) and partner organisations (including A&T, UNICEF, Save the Children, Wellbeing Foundation) has been put in place.

The state IYCF campaign management committee is led by the State PHCDA and is responsible for providing overall administrative oversight on the process.

This committee will receive technical support from FHI 360 A&T and relevant civil society organization (CSO) networks.
According to Project Director FHI360/A&T, Victor Ogbodo, “this multimedia campaign is a shared responsibility; everyone has a part to play to ensure the success of the process.

“It is therefore expected that everyone in the state actively participate in and encourage others to participate in the activities of IYCF multimedia campaign accordingly.”

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