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UNICEF in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency(NOA) has warned people particularly women against unhieginic practises to avoid contracting the dreaded Lasser Fever disease but imbibe essential family practices to remain healthy and productive.
Dr Blessing Azubuike, Director, Women Affairs in the state Ministry of Gender and Vulnerable Group made this known at a sensitisation programme organised by UNICEF and NOA for the women of Methodist Church, Umulolo Circuit Headquaters Amano, Okigwe, Imo State.
She harped on the need for effective hand washing, general cleanliness and other essential family practices to guide against preventable but deadly diseases such as lasser fever, hepatitis B, measles, yellow fever, and others and improve on the health of children.
She identified the five essential family practices as exclusive breast feeding, proper immunization of childrem, proper disposal of feaces, hand washing and antenatal care for pregnant mothers.
Azubuike described breast milk as the natural milk and first food for babies which provides all the nutrients and energy for healthy growth and development adding that the first milk from the breast contains colostrum which builds the child’s immune system.
She said that breast milk contains proteins, fats, vitamins, water and antibodies that helps to fight infections in children and strengthens and encourages a special bond between mother and child and is a natural family planning method.
On immunization, she harped on the need to give children full course of immunization before their first birthday, and urged the women not to engage on self medication especially on the children as it portends a lot of dangers.
The Heath Director also encouraged the pregnant women to ensure they go for antenatal clinics for their care and that of their unborn child and advised the women generally against involvement in female genital mutilation which she said is now against the laws of the state.
The State Director of NOA, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, noted that UNICEF in August 2019 mandated that they go from Church to Church and communities to communities to sensitise people especially women on the essential family practises.
He said adherence to the practises would help prevent certain diseases that confront individuals in the society especially children and encouraged the women to listen attentively and imbibe the teachings to their daily life.
Responding, the women commended UNICEF and NOA for enlightening them more on the essential family practises and testified to the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
They requested for more enlightenment on family planning and sex education for children.
Mrs Uduak Koko-Bassy, President of the Women Fellowship of the Methodist Church exppressed appreciation for the programme which she said had renewed the women’s knowledge on essential family practices.
She asked that UNICEF and NOA empower the women through skills acquisition and scholarship to their children and wards to further their education.