By Femi Mustapha
The United Kingdom and the Kaduna State Government on Monday sensitised religious and traditional leaders on Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH).
Malam Kabir Lawal, Desk Officer, School Health, Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board, explained in Zaria on Monday, that the move was to mobilise support for effective implementation of ECD and ASRH programmes.
Lawal said the one-day orientation was supported by UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), under its Lafiya project, a UK, and Nigeria Partnership for Health.
He explained that the objective of the sensitisation was to familiarise the participants with the concepts of ECD, ASRH and reproductive health, maternal, newborn and child nutrition.
This, according to him, will enable the participants to identify barriers to effective ECD and ASRH programmes and be able to proffer ways forward.
He added that the orientation also provided an avenue to enlist the support of the religious and traditional leaders for the effective implementation of the ECD and ASRH programmes.
One of the resource persons, Hajiya Amina Ndatsu explained that ECD was about the survival, growth, and development of the child, from conception to five years.
Ndatsu said that child development involves the care, support, and all interventions a child receives to enable children to survive, thrive, grow, develop, and reach their potential.
She pointed out that the provision of all forms of support and interventions for ECD was multi-sectoral, covering health, education, nutrition, and child protection among others.
According to her, the holistic approach to ECD involves the physical, social, cognitive, emotional, and linguistic development of the child.
She called on the traditional and religious leaders to support the government in sensitising their subjects and members and mobilise them to ensure that the needs of children were provided, and their rights protected.
Also, another resource person, Mr Abdulrahaman Mikail, explained that ASRH was concerned with adolescent sexuality, pregnancy, childbirth, health, adolescent nutrition, family planning, ante-natal and postnatal care, breastfeeding, and young child feeding.
Mikail said that ASRH programme cannot be separated with basic education for effectiveness, stressing the need for stakeholders to support in educating adolescent boys and girls on sexual and reproductive health.
One of the participants, Mr Yusuf Yayaha, District Head of Birnin Gwari South, pointed out that abject poverty was affecting parents and caregivers to provide the needed care to their children.
“Some parents cannot even feed or educate their children, leading to child hawking, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and other forms of social vices.
“Government should work with communities to find ways of addressing households’ poverty for parents and caregivers to be able to provide the needed care for their children,” he said.
Mr Tijjani Aliyu, Citizens Co-Chair, Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM), commended FCDO and Kaduna State government for the efforts.
According to him, the step will help in mobilising critical support for effective implementation of ECD and ASRH programmes in the state.