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Group holds community governance structure forum in Anambra



ANAMBRA State Social Mobilisation and Technical Committee (SOMTEC), a United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) assisted project domiciled in the state Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment held A One-Day Forum for the Community Governance Structures in Anambra Central Senatorial Zone to sensitise Community leaders to educate mothers and care givers on essential family practices (EFPs).

  The forum tagged- ‘One Day Forum of Community Governance Structures on Demand Creation on Essential Family Practices (EFP) in Anambra Central Senatorial Zone’ was organised for town union presidents general, women leaders and youth leaders from all the communities in the zone.

  The programme, which held at Abagana, in Njikoka L.G.A was aimed at retraining community leaders on five key EFPs, discussing situation of knowledge of those EFPs among its mothers and caregivers and strategising actions communities should take to ensure implementation of the EFPs.

  Speaking during the event, SOMTEC Project Desk Officer, Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment, Mrs. Chineze George-Ileka said that the five key EFPs 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 faeces including hand washing 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 support 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 patent medicine dealers saying that patients were at risk of kidney or liver failure due to drug abuse resulting from ingesting different drugs that has the same composition.

  She stressed on personal hygiene, adding that exclusive breast feeding should be enforced by caregivers saying that it helps in building the immune system of the infants against various diseases and helps in proper brain and body developments.

  “Teach your daughters, sons in-laws on exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months without water. Sometimes what people ingest in the name of milk are chemicals or contaminated milk”, said Mrs. George-Ileka.

  Meanwhile, the State Hygiene Promotion Officer, Dr Rose Amasiani discussed the six areas of hygiene as part of the EFPs to curb spread of diseases that result in waste of resources and death.

  The areas include: Personal, Food, Environmental, Menstrual hygiene, Safe excreta disposal and Safe water chain. She urged community’ leaders to ensure they were certified open defecation free by advocating that every family, public place had and uses a covered toilet with hand washing facilities.

  “Recent global report confirmed that Nigeria came first in Open defecation. The Federal Government has declared state of emergency on open defecation. Let us help Anambra become statewide open defecation free”, Amasiani lamented.

  The action plan resolved by different Communities in the senatorial zone include: forming committees to sensitize and monitor implementation of the EFPs; Ensuring in collaboration with the traditional rulers that all households build a toilet with hand washing facilities and stop open defecation.

  Others resolutions include: To carry the EFP campaigns to towns, youths and women’s meetings, churches, markets, schools, community gatherings, etc,; Encouraging women to adopt exclusive breast feeding, antenatal visit and full immunisation of children.

  They maintained that communities should take care of water source, engage in monthly environmental sanitation and proposed provision of waste receptacles, hand washing facilities.

  Also they resolved they would be having quarterly community appraisal meetings and proposed forming a task force spear headed by youths in their communities that would be mandated to apprehend and fine defaulters defecating in the open with minimum of 5000 naira saying that they want their various communities to be certified open defecation free.

  Mrs. George-Ileka tasked the Community leaders to endeavor to enforce the action plan saying that the essence of inviting them to the workshop was because of their position as behavioral change agents in the community who can influence others.

  Also in attendance were Permanent Secretary MOIPE, Mrs. Oby Umeadi represented by Gloria Onyeanusi, NOA State Director,  Charles Nwoji, , State Director of Information, Mr. Tony Nweke and ASATU Secretary General South East, Sir. Emeka Anetoh.

 Others include: NOA UNICEF Programme Officer, Maureen Ezenwaka, COMOs and their Assistants from the seven LGAs of the zone, other State Staff and media persons were part of the Community Governance Structures Forum.

  In his vote of thanks,  John Uzozie from Neni community of Anaocha LGA expressed gratitude to the state government and UNICEF for investing time and resources in promoting healthcare and hygiene of Ndi Anambra.

  He assured that all the community leaders will effectively communicate the message and enforce the action plans resolved towards making their communities open defecation free.

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