Owerri – The National Orientation Agency (NOA) said its campaigns on Essential Family Practices in Churches were to reduce maternal and child mortality rates.
The Director of the agency in Imo, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, said this while speaking in Owerri at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Imo Province one and Assumpta Cathedral, during their Women Fellowship and Diocesan Women meetings, respectively on Monday.
He said the aim was to reduce maternal and child mortality rates by creating awareness on the five major essential family practices for the development of children.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was organised by NOA, Imo state, in partnership with the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF and select ministries which have taken health campaign to churches in the state.
Ekeocha listed the five essential family practices to include proper immunisation,, exclusive breastfeeding, effective hand washing, antenatal and post natal care and open defecation and sanitation.
He said that when these practices were strictly adhered to, health risks would be reduced.
Ekeocha said that the programme was ongoing as more churches would be reached.
The UNICEF Consultant, Mrs Barabara Nonso, who spoke at both the diocesan women meeting of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and women fellowship of Assumpta Cathedral informed the women of the two immunization programmes coming up in the state which were the measles second dose and meningitis.
She said that the second dose for measles would take place from Nov.14 to Nov.18 for children under two years, while that of meningitis would be for children from one year to five years all scheduled to take place in churches, schools, house to house and at event centers.
Also speaking, a Chief Nursing officer at the Federal Medical Center, Owerri, Mrs Ogechi Osuagwu, engaged the women in effective hand washing techniques and proper disposal of feaces.
She expressed optimism for the need for exclusive breastfeeding, saying the breast contained colostrum a superior nutrition for the baby.
Osuagwu said the colostrum not would not only help to fight against infections, but would also build the immunity of the child.
NAN reports that the programme was supported by UNICEF with social mobilisation and technical team of NOA, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information and Rural Water and Sanitation.