By G9ija

Anambra State Social Mobilization and Technical Committee (SOMTEC), a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) assisted project  domiciled in the state Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment held Speaking Sessions with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to educate Women on Essential Family Practices (EFPs).

  The programme, which was held at Nibo, Nimo, Abba, Uke, Abatete, Obosi, Ezira, Neni, Nnewi and Umuawulu communities was aimed at sensitising women on five key EFPs. Sets of Information, Education and Communication books /materials were distributed to the women groups to continue the sensitisation in their smaller groups.

  The SOMTEC Project Desk Officer, Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment, Mrs. Chineze George-Ileka, sensitised women on the five key EFPs which include: Breastfeed infant exclusively for about six months taking into account WHO/UNICEF/UNIDS policies and recommendation on HIV and infant feeding; take children for a full course of immunization before their first birthday.

  Recognise when sick children need treatment outside the home and take them for healthcare to the appropriate provider; disposal of feaces including children feaces safely and wash hands with soap after defecation, before preparing meals and feeding children.

  Also, to ensure that every pregnant woman receives the recommended four antenatal visits, recommended doses of tetanus toxide vaccination and is supported by family and community in seeking appropriate care especially at the time of delivery and during the postpartum breastfeeding period.

  Mrs. George-Ileka discouraged people from patronising Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) saying that mother and child were at risk of contaminating infections, deformation, imbecility and death, saying that the TBAs lacks the professionalism to midwife especially when complications arise.

She stressed on personal hygiene, adding that exclusive breast feeding from Day one, including the colostrum should be adopted by mothers, saying that it helps in building the immune system of the infants against various diseases and helps in proper brain and body developments.

  Moreover, UNICEF Motivational speaker of the programme, Mrs. Scholastica Okoli, stressed on the need for antenatal and post-natal visits for immunization and to avoid mother to child transmission of HIV; family planning and Child Spacing to avoid rupture of the womb and maternal death.

  Meanwhile, the State Hygiene Promotion Officer, Dr Rose Amasiani discussed the six areas of hygiene that could curb spread of diseases that result in waste of resources and death, urging women as influencers to keep advocating that every family, public place has and uses a covered toilet with hand washing facilities.

  “The federal government has declared state of emergency on open defecation. There is a new legislation saying that anyone caught defecating in the open is liable to fine and possible six month’s imprisonment”..

  However, the various groups’ Women leaders were so excited about the grassroots’ healthcare sensitization, thanked the state government and UNICEF for the programme and pledged to implement all the EFPs they learnt.