Health Workers Trained on Infant and Young Child Feeding
Save the Children has conducted a five day training covering growth assessments and Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling (IYCFC) for Health workers in Binga. A total of thirty nurses drawn from all Health facilities in the District participated in the training, in an effort to complement Ministry of Health and Child Care efforts to improve support to breastfeeding mothers and growth monitoring of children.
The training is aimed at ensuring that all participants are able to assess breastfeeding and complementary feeding, measure children, correctly plot measurements on growth charts, interpret growth indicators, counsel and support mothers to carry out WHO and UNICEF recommended feeding practices for their infants and young children.
Tendai Gunda, the Nutrition and Health Manager at Save the Children said “The training will help health workers to be able to assess failure in growth in children and provide appropriate counselling support to those mothers facing challenges in breastfeeding their babies.”
Due to the current food insecurity emergency in Zimbabwe, it has become a challenge for most mothers to continue breastfeeding their children until the expected weaning time which is at least twenty-four months. This has resulted in an increase in numbers of children with acute malnutrition in Binga. This calls for Health workers to have proper skills on provision of support to breastfeeding mothers and improved knowledge on how to overcome the food shortages.
Gunda emphasised that this training is important to all health workers as it educates them on how to assist mothers and Village Health Workers on how to properly breastfeed and give right complementary foods to babies.
“We encourage all mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children for six months and then introduce complementary foods whilst breastfeeding until their child is at least twenty-four months old. This applies even during food shortages,” Gunda said.
She urged all breastfeeding mothers throughout Zimbabwe to initiate exclusive breastfeeding within the first six months of life.
In addition to the promotion of IYCFC, Save the Children is also implementing other Health and nutrition programme initiatives across Binga district.