What’s a great way to welcome World Breastfeeding Week? Launch a national education and training campaign on child nutrition!
August 1-7 2013 is World Breastfeeding Week (http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org), a global campaign to support and promote breastfeeding all over the world. USAID’s SPRING project is helping play a role, providing technical support to the Government of Nigeria as they launch a new National Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) campaign to improve community health worker training.
Nigeria is one of many countries with a high prevalence of undernutrition among under-five children, with a rate of stunting at 41%, wasting at 14% and underweight at 23% (NDHS 2008, MICS 2011). Inappropriate breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices have been identified as major causes of undernutrition. Since knowledge about how to feed young children generally derives from family beliefs, community practices, and information given by health workers, various studies have identified a critical need to empower health workers and community volunteers to provide caregivers with the relevant information and support to achieve optimal nutrition for their children.
In response, Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) Nutrition Division led a series of technical working group meetings comprising all relevant government agencies, parastatals, development partners, and NGOs, adapting IYCF materials from UNICEF and WHO global documents. SPRING was asked to facilitate this multi-stakeholder review process, organize field testing of the materials, assist with translation into 6 local languages, and provide direct support for the launch held on August 1, 2013.
The package is now available in English, Hausa, Idoma, Igbo, Tiv, and Yoruba, and consists of a trainer’s manual with appendices, pictorial training aids for training community health workers, participant materials (that include training handouts and monitoring tools), a set of slides for projection during training, a set of 31 IYCF counseling cards, a key messages booklet, and three take-home brochures. The package provides updated technical information on breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and IYCF in the context of HIV, and also provides some basic skills, such as listening and learning skills, confidence-building skills, and support skills. (http://www.spring-nutrition.org/nigeriaiycf).
SPRING will also be using social media to support the IYCF campaign in Nigeria in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week. We will be tweeting key IYCF messages throughout the week (follow #IYCF, and/or #WBW), and will be highlighting breastfeeding each day on SPRING’s Facebook Page.
World Breastfeeding Week is a perfect time for the Nigerian government to launch these new materials, and can help raise awareness of IYCF on a global scale. SPRING hopes the IYCF campaign will lead to an increase in the rate of early initiation of breastfeeding, (within 30 minutes of delivery) exclusive breastfeeding, timely and appropriate introduction of complementary feeding, and improved infant feeding in the context of HIV.