Anambra State Social Mobilization and Technical Committee (SOMTEC), a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) assisted project domiciled in the State Ministry of Information & Public Enlightenment, in collaboration with National Orientation Agency (NOA) embarked on the sensitization of various Women groups on Essential Family Practices (EFPs) using the Women August Meeting platform.
This activity has become an annual event in order to reach a larger audience (women) who will come home from far and near for the August meeting.
The Five Essential Family Practices include: Breastfeed infant exclusively for about six months taking into account WHO/UNICEF/UNIDS policies and recommendation on HIV and infant feeding; Take children for a full course of immunization before their first birthday.
Others include: recognize when sick children need treatment outside the home and take them for healthcare to the appropriate provider; disposal of feces including children feces safely and wash hands with soap after defecation, before preparing meals and feeding children.
Also, to ensure that every pregnant woman receives the recommended four antenatal visits, recommended doses of tetanus toxide vaccination and is supported by family and community in seeking appropriate care especially at the time of delivery and during the postpartum breastfeeding period.
This third edition began with a planning meeting between the SOMTEC desk officer, Ministry of Information& Public enlightenment (MOIPE), Mrs. Chineze George-Ileka, NOA State Director, Barr. Charles Nwoji and all the Community Mobilization Officers (COMOs) from the 21 LGAs at the NOA State headquarters, Akwa.
In her address, Mrs. George-Ileka urged the COMOs to honestly carry out the Health Sensitization assignment effectively, exploring both the church denominational women meetings and general women summit.
She told the COMOs to schedule a (pre visit) meeting with the women’s executive of each community before their actual August meeting event to pre inform them of the importance of accommodating the health presentations in their programme.
“UNICEF wants you to carry out their assignment passionately. Send in an honest on the spot report. You are to set up a pre visit appointment with the women leaders of each community. Set up meeting dates and venues in other to get their approval to be an official guest during their August meetings “,said Mrs. George-Ileka.
Responding on behalf of the COMOs, the NOA State Director Barr. Nwoji further charged his staff to judiciously carryout the UNICEF assignment saying that many lives would be preserved as well as behavioral changes as a result of the health sensitization. He said that the success of the assignment would make UNICEF entrust more activities into their care in the future.
The NOA Community Mobilization Officers (COMOs) at the 21 LGAs took the EFP campaign to 20 communities per LGA using the August women’s meeting platform to reach the grass roots.
However, Mrs. Georg-Ileka, Barr. Charles Nwoji, NOA Unicef Programme officer, Maureen Ezenwaka, and other State Staff and media persons monitored the sensitization activities of the COMOs during the women August meetings in communities in the 21 LGAs.
They paid unscheduled visits to one community per LGA to ascertain the authenticity of the claims and reports of the COMO and to observe their teachings. At the end, the women said they would go down to their small groups to disseminate the information.
According to Mrs. George-Ileka” the recently concluded sensitization activities on EFPs by the COMOs was a huge success. Each COMO visited 20 communities per LGA.’
“They visited church women societies, women general assembly, in different communities, even kindred and villages, educating them chiefly on immunization, antenatal, exclusive breast feeding, stoppage of open defecation, dangers of patronizing traditional birth attendants among others EFPs. They have just concluded filling their reports,” Mrs. George-Ileka said.