First 1000 Days Of Children Critical For Survival, Says UNICEF

By Khalid Idris Doya

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said that the first 1000 days of life of a child is the critical window opportunity for the child to survive and thrive to the fullest potential.

The UNICEF Bauchi Chief of Field Office, Dr. Tushar Rane said however that the first 1000 days of the child start from the pregnancy, a period ranging from the first 270 days followed by the first two years of the child.

Dr. Tushar Rane at a press briefing by the UN agency in Bauchi Tuesday, explained that the 270 days period entails visiting a primary healthcare centre for nutrition counseling, package of medical services which is the ante-natal care, and immunization to the mother continuous until the child is born.

“It is to be followed by immunization of the child, then nutrition caller which provides counseling, vis-a-vis exclusive and I exclusive breastfeeding till the child reaches two years of age”, he said.

Also speaking, a member of the UNICEF team, Kate Henshaw emphasized the importance of journalists in advocating for the health of children and mothers and generally disseminating critical information to people in communities.

Kate Henshaw who is an ambassador of UNICEF Nigeria said after the advocacy visit by the team that she was impressed with Governor Bala Mohammed who was very receptive to all the stocks they told him, especially his interest in nutrition funds which help to give children protection and right nutrition till they grow properly.

She also explained the UNICEF team advocacy visit to Dass where they met the emir, Usman Bilyaminu Othman, talked about nutrition, RTF and supplements needed for a child, and the six-months exclusive breastfeeding for the child as a healthy foundation.

The ambassador therefore stressed the need for journalists to amplify the messages being passed to them as open as they can in their reportage to the communities, and even to themselves, as they both need each other to make the world a better place.

Henshaw also expressed delight that women in the visited places have taken up the advocacy with great importance as, according to her, the advocacy has been seen in the lives of the children.

She further explained that an unhealthy child would be a burden on health services and the community, hence the need for children to grow up and partake in developing the economy, thereby contributing positively to the society.

She therefore called for the provision of more primary healthcare centres closer to the people so as to take services to their doorsteps, especially to patients, saying it is disadvantageous to travel long distances to access services with mode of transportation such as motor-cycles or bikes that are not comfortable.

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