Children’s first 1,000 days of life very critical to survival says UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that the first 1,000 days of life of children is critical to their survival and presents an opportunity to lay solid foundations for the child’s lifetime development.

The global children body noted that 80 per cent of the brain is formed within the first 1,000 days of birth but without good nutrition, a child is born disadvantaged with poor cognitive development and stunting or wasting adding that any damage within this period is usually irreversible.

Speaking at a media dialogue in Gombe State, on importance of the first 1,000 days of life to a child, UNICEF’s Chief of Bauchi Field Office, Dr. Tushar Rane observed that the first 1000 days of life is critical for physical and rapid brain growth and maturation stressing that any growth failure during this period has long term consequences (inclusive of schooling, productivity and income).

He explained that the first 1,000 days of life which starts from conception to the second birthday of a child remains the most critical period for laying a good foundation for health, growth, and cognitive development through nutrition and immunisation.

Rane stated that Poor children are at greatest risk of malnutrition in the first 1,000 days and stunting which is associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment.

He said, “The early years set the life-long foundation for human capital. Socio-emotional skills predict future success and productivity. A well-nourished, healthy workforce is a pre-condition for sustainable development

Rane stressed the need for exclusive breastfeeding and proper nutrition to ensure not only the survival of infants but also their growth, cognitive development and well-being all through the stages of life.

He said that high-impact intervention during the first 1,000 days includes maternal supplementation and dietary counseling, weight gain tracking, infection control, and antenatal care from conception to delivery.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Maryam Abubakar, who decried the high level of malnutrition in the region added that one case of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in every six children is reported in North-East.

She observed that the breast milk is the first immunisation for every child considering that it contains antibodies and improves bonding between the mother and the child ans stressed the need to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children, at least for the first six months.

On his part, the UNICEF Communication Officer, Bauchi Field Office, Opeyemi Olagunju said that the media Dialogue was aimed at creating awareness on the importance of first 1,000 days to child survival and thriving; and to highlight to the media the peculiar threats to a healthy first 1,000 days in UNICEF Bauchi Field Office focus states of Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa states and the extant implications.

Naija Environment News

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *