From Umar Dankano,Yola
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and some critical stakeholders (media and health experts) have charged the Federal and state governments to allocate 50% of their budgets to health care delivery.
Making the recommendation known at a two day capacity building training (workshop) for journalists on the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life stakeholders agreed that the effort is to ensure maternal and child care and survival in the country.
Most of the guest speakers at the media dialogue highlighted on the benefits attached to the new born babies right from conception of the pregnancy, antenatal and postenatal up to 2 years care for the healthy growth of the child’s brain and physical well-being.
In his keynote address virtually, the Chief of UNICEF Field office Bauchi, Dr.Tushar Rane said the first 1,000 days of a child is crucial for his or her physical development and brain growth, as well as a critical period that underscores the survival of a child.
Dr.Rane stressed that a woman’s nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding as well as baby’s nurturing care in the first two years are extremely beneficial for a child healthy future which can not over emphasised.
“The first 1,000 days of life is the time spanning between conception and a child’s second year birthday which is an important period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established.
“The period of rapid brain growth and maturation is 80 percent by two years, and failure of growth during this period is associated with long-term consequences, which include schooling, productivity and income. Neuronal pathways develop most rapidly in the first 1,000 days; however, poor children are at great risk of malnutrition in the first 1,000 days of their lives.
“Stunting is associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment while gaps between the risk and poor in reading, language, and cognitive development emerge before primary school. Also, cognitive/linguistics delays accumulate early and last a lifetime, hence early life is a sensitive period for brain development.”