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•Lagos to Support 5,000 Indigent Mothers in M.I.C.H Initiative

 

Lagos State has launched a comprehensive nutrition programmes to tackle cognitive and learning disabilities in newborns. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, rolled out the Mother, Infant and Child (M.I.C.H.) Initiative to address nutritional needs of pregnant women across the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

 

The scheme aims to raise the level of care for expectant mothers in underserved communities throughout their pregnancy periods. It is also to support development of infants’ brains from foetus to neonatal stage, especially in the first 2,000 days said to be significant in a child’s formative stage.

 

The health initiative is a key component of the Womb To School Programme – a basket of social investments initiated by the Sanwo-Olu administration to facilitate human capital development and to raise socially responsible citizens from the womb through infancy, childhood, and into adulthood.

 

Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and, Deputy Governor’s wife, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat, attended the event held at the Government Secretariat in Alausa.

 

Office of the Civic Engagement coordinates the M.I.C.H. project.

 

Before the initiative was fully launched, the pilot phase was rolled out in 11 councils, with the State Government providing nutritional foods and supplements for 3,000 indigent pregnant women.

 

Sanwo-Olu said the Government realised the roles of women in the socio-economic development of the State, thereby taking the proactive step to improve maternal and child condition. The programme, he added, would also protect the rights of our women and children.

 

He said: “The M.I.C.H. Initiative that is being launched today is not just an integral part of our plan to improve maternal and child condition, but it also speaks of our desire to protect the wellbeing and rights of our women and children in Lagos. We will be reaching out to indigent pregnant women and cater for their care during the period of their pregnancy in order to ensure safe delivery, healthy mother and child.

 

“Our target is to reach 5,000 underprivileged pregnant women who will be selected by doctors and specialists in each primary healthcare centre across the State to access the M.I.C.H food packs that contain recommended daily nutritional composition of protein, carbohydrate, lactose, milk fat, fibre, calcium, folic acid and multi-vitamins.”

 

To access the programme, Sanwo-Olu said selected beneficiaries would be issued approved M.I.C.H. Collection Cards individually for the Government to monitor the distribution of nutrient-filled supplements on a weekly basis.

 

The Governor said the initiative would take off in flagship health centres in areas that include Ikeja, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Agege, Lagos-Island, Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Somolu, Kosofe and Ibeju.

 

The benefitting pregnant women, he added, would also receive quality care and follow-up through home visits by a dedicated team of public and state-approved private community health workers and medical consultants.

 

Aside the State Government’s investment in fully-equipped Maternal and Child Centres (MCCs) in the last two years, Sanwo-Olu said the MICH Initiative was conceived to protect infants from preventable impairment in neurological and physical development.

 

“We are convinced that there is no better time than now to leverage advanced technology, modern equipment and well-trained health staff to put an end to preventable maternal mortality and disabilities in infants. The process of bringing life into existence should no longer lead to the loss of another life; this is why we are initiating policies and investing in the Mother and Child Sector to ensure that we drastically reduce and eliminate maternal mortality in Lagos,” the Governor said.

 

Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, explained that the beneficiaries would go through four stages of care, stressing that expectant mothers would have access to weekly supply of balanced diet.

 

She said: “Our objective is to ensure that the programme continues to provide free care and supplement packs for underprivileged pregnant women throughout pregnancy. This would prevent malnutrition and save the foetus from deficiencies that cause stunted growth.”

 

Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said nutritious diets remained essential supplements required by an expectant mother during pregnancy, stressing that a nutrient deficient infant would go through irregular brain development. This, he said, may limit the child’s ability in adulthood.

 

Sanwo-Olu launched the M.I.C.H. Initiative in a swarm of nursing mothers who benefitted from the pilot phase of the programme.

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Health & Wellbeing

World Health Day: Let’s Ensure Good Nutrition For Children Because #OurChildrenOurResponsibility

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Peak 456

World Health Day (WHD) is celebrated every April 7. This is the day that commemorates the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. WHD aims to focus on a specific theme relevant to public health each year. This year WHO is focusing global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on wellbeing.

Nutrition plays a very crucial role in ensuring humans are healthy.  It is an important part of an individual’s overall health and development right from a very young age. Proper and balanced nutrition is directly linked to improved infant, toddler, child, and maternal health and wellbeing. It offers stronger immunity, lowers the risk of health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and improves longevity. Also, healthy children are not just physically strong but also mentally sound. Having balanced and healthy nutrition also helps boost their productivity and helps create more opportunities to break the cycle of poverty eventually.

Malnutrition, in any form, poses a significant threat to human health. Not having proper and balanced nutrition can lead to malnutrition. Currently, the world faces two types of malnutrition – undernourishment, and obesity. The former tends to be more prevalent among the economically disadvantaged populations in low and middle-income countries.

Good nutrition in the early stages of life sets the stage for lifelong health. In the words of Anne Mulcahy, “Investing in early childhood nutrition is a surefire strategy. The returns are incredibly high.”

One of the keys to parenting healthy children is providing them with a healthy and nutritious diet..

Key nutrients in supporting optimal growth and development… When a child consumes a balanced diet, they can develop their physical and mental skills in the present and the future. The benefits impacted by nutrition while the child is young are:

  1. Ensures proper development of the brain, which helps the neurocognitive process
  2. Improves a child’s physical health and ensures an active social life as the child grows old.
  3. Supports the immune system to ably fight against various infectious diseases

Key nutrients for brain development… Phospholipids are known to be essential nutrients for brain development. These nutrients are structural components of neurological systems (neural networks), and deficits during early life can impact brain function long-term. Long-chain omega 3s like DHA and ARA and other brain-supportive nutrients may also benefit proper neural network development and enhance visual acuity and cognition.

Key nutrients for physical growth… Proteins are the building blocks of physical growth. Dietary protein requirements are higher in children than in adults because they have faster growth and development rates due to their increased cell turnover. Inadequacy of high-quality dietary proteins can cause stunted growth, poor body composition, and wasting. Calcium and vitamin D play an important role in physical development too. Calcium is the main component of the skeleton, while vitamin D ensures calcium reaches the growing bones.

Peak 456

Key nutrients for supporting immunity… A variety of vitamins and minerals that include micronutrients such as Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium, among others, have vital functions in the human body. Several studies have found that children provided with foods high in these essential micronutrients improve their immune system’s response rate and help them steer clear of various immune system diseases.

Childhood is the most significant period of growth and development, both physically and mentally. Setting the foundation with good nutrition during childhood has a profound impact, even during later life, and helps develop society and the world as a whole.

 

Multi-nutrient fortified Growing Up Milk such as Peak 456 formulated for children ages four to six is an excellent way to ensure optimal intake of several vitamins and minerals in a child’s daily diet.

 

On this World Health Day, let’s take a pledge to support WHO’s initiative of #OurPlanetOurHealth by focusing on good nutrition for our children’s health which can help them grow strong and smart.

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Health & Wellbeing

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict: The Need for Peace

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Wars and armed conflict are always assessed in terms of how they affect human lives, livelihoods and extent to which cities or other settlements are destroyed. Records of deaths and cities destroyed are always available and used as yardsticks to determine the extent of war in troubled zones. During war and armed conflicts, the environment is always a victim but not usually classified as a victim of war. During wars and armed conflicts, our environment is usually degraded heavily. Our Forests are usually destroyed, creating a huge distortion in the biodiversity of such areas. They are depleted by bombings and chemicals lunched to displace or gain access to opponent’s territories. Removal of these forest covers add to the existing problems of climate change threatening humanity. Rivers, wells, municipal water supply and many other water bodies are often polluted by chemicals in missiles and other explosives creating hydrological imbalance and loss of biodiversity in the marine ecosystem. Pollution to the environment during wars often comes from chemicals of explosives, radioactive materials, toxic materials and fuels used in powering war vehicles. Loss of fertile lands to war and conflict is a big cause of food insecurity and destruction of means of livelihood in troubled regions. Toxic gases and other dangerous particles occupy the atmosphere changing its composition and thereby affecting the lives of plants and animals in the area. Burnings from explosions and combustion of fuels used in war vehicles contribute to the supply of greenhouse gasses like Carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming issue.

Generally speaking, wars and armed conflicts are great disasters to the balance of the ecosystem and humanity at large and therefore the need for global peace cannot be over emphasized. The truth we must tell ourselves is that war and armed conflicts have done so much harm to our environment than what we plan to achieve from the war. The need to embrace dialogue as a means of conflict resolution is not only important to human existence but to our environment for a genuine and long lasting peace. To achieve the sustainable development goals, wars and armed conflicts must stand down as a means of settling any dispute either locally or internationally. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that 40 percent of all internal conflicts have links to exploitation of natural resources like solid minerals, fossil fuels, agricultural resources like fertile land, water and many others. This was observed to have been occurring for over the last 60 years according to UNEP. In view of these issues the United Nations General Assembly on the 5th of November 2001, declared 6 November of each year as The International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict (A/RES/56/4). Further on this, the UN environment assembly on the 27th of May 2016, adopted resolution UNEP/EA.2/Res.15 which recognized the role of a healthy ecosystems and sustainably managed resources in reducing the risk of armed conflict and reaffirmed its strong drive to the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To achieve a sustainable environment that will supply our needs we need to act fast to stop the devastating effect of war and armed conflict on our environment. Internal or external disputes should be best settled with dialogue. International and regional bodies should be fast enough to interfere in disputes either within or across borders before it degenerates into war. However, as we campaign against war and armed conflicts there is need to manage our natural resources in a manner that will prevent struggles associated with resource use and control. A suitable ecosystem that will bring peace is one which resources are available for everyone without any cause for struggle or conflict.

Hafiz Babatunde Bello
(Environmental scientists, )
Area of interest in Agricultural development, climate change, land and natural resources management

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