By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
State governments controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) have disclosed its plans to roll out strategic campaigns designed to raise public awareness on the dangers associated with malnutrition in children and nursing mothers.
This was part of the resolutions reached by the Secretaries to APC State Governments (SSG) during their virtual meeting, coordinated by the Secretariat of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) in Abuja.
In the communique made available to journalists in Abuja and signed by Adamu Fanini and Prof. Danladi Atu, who are respectively the SSG of Jigawa and SSG Plateau, said also that because of the significant role parental support play in the lives of children and the need to enhance the health of nursing mothers, APC States are committed to implementing the recommendation to prioritise granting 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for nursing mothers in the APC States;
It said also that APC State Governments are also committed to encouraging and supporting women to practice six months of exclusive breastfeeding of children from birth.
The communique said “Given the import of nutrition to addressing the problems of stunting and wasting in children, the meeting agreed that APC controlled states commit themselves to promoting essential nutrient fortified foods and supplements for children under the ages of 5 and nursing mothers;
“Considering the importance of robust public engagement in the implementation of the Framework for Maternal and Child Nutrition, APC States undertake to design effective communication strategies to raise public awareness and transform public attitudes towards issues related to malnutrition and its effects on the Child and nursing mothers;
“Because of the significant role parental support play in the lives of children and the need to enhance the health of nursing mothers, APC States are committed to implementing the recommendation to prioritise granting 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for nursing mothers in the APC States;
“APC State Governments are also committed to encouraging and supporting women to practice six months of exclusive breastfeeding of children from birth; and
“Given the strong linkages between national security and food security, the APC States should adopt sustainable strategies and other initiatives for strengthening food production and food security, as part of their development programmes.”
It also said the meeting expressed profound appreciation to the PGF Secretariat for the excellent organisation of the virtual meeting.
“It commended the PGF Secretariat for promoting synergy, greater cooperation and joint policy initiatives across the APC States geared towards sustainable development in the APC States and the country in general. The meeting agreed to continue sharing information, ideas and knowledge through its Quarterly Meetings.
The theme of the virtual meeting was ‘Developing Common Policy Initiatives on Maternal & Child Nutrition Promotion in APC States’, while the over-reaching objective was to consider and approve the implementation framework for promotion of maternal and child nutrition in APC States.
It said the Co-Chairmen of PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee, Simon Bako Lalong, Governor of Plateau State, declared the meeting open, while Mohammed Abubakar Badaru, Governor of Jigawa State, declared the meeting closed.
The communique said the meeting followed a series of other sessions with the Commissioners of Health, Agriculture and Education where the framework was discussed extensively, and accordingly, the meeting reviewed the current status of child and maternal nutrition in APC states and considered the PGF Secretariat’s Proposal on the implementation of the Framework.