By: Ukpa Ewa : The wife of Anambra State Governor, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano has called on mothers to ensure that the quality of food given to children include nutrients like vegetables to help them avoid worm infestation that may lead to stunted growth of an average child in the state. Mrs Obiano made the call during the launch of Anambra State Wide Free Deworming programme for school age children between the age of 1-15 years at Central Primary School Isu-Anaocha, Awka North Local Government Area. The governors wife stated that the launch of the deworming programme was crucial as she noted that worm free children grow healthy and strong stressing the need for mothers to give children balanced diet.
According to her ” The food a child eats while growing up is important because it helps both their physical and mental development although resources are scarce and we are in recession, mother’s should try and feed their children with vegetables. I know from experience that most children don’t like it but vegetables can be made tasty when you blend it with plantain and banana. That way, they eat healthy and can avoid incidents that may make them vulnerable to worm or infections “. Mrs Obiano however flagged off the Deworming programme and thanked the participants, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Isu-Anaocha community, women, teachers and children for coming out to participate in the event. Delivering a speech on the importance of the deworming programme earlier, Dr. Joe Akabike, state Commissioner for Health said that the exercise was launched to prepare children in primary schools for the federal government school feeding programme by commencing the deworming ahead to ensure that children were worm free and ready, as well as keeping the food hygienic and safe from worm before consumption.
Dr. Akabike attested that the state committed twenty five million naira worth of drugs to the deworming programme which is slated to be a week exercise across the state. He also commended the implementing partners for conducting the needs assessment survey of Poverty Distribution and Access to Social Services in 21 Local Government Areas in Anambra State conducted by the UNDP in conjunction with the state Ministry of Economic Planning which identified Six underserved LGAs mainly in remote agrarian communities including Anambra North which was chosen for the launch of the free deworming programme. He further confirmed that the state scored nine points in the nation wide assessment of the Rate of Stuntedness to come first ahead of other States assuring that the government was committed in reducing the rate of its prevalence to zero. While highlighting the programmes embarked upon in the state health sector to include rehabilitation of sixty five primary health cares Centres, Drug Revolving Fund, setting up of a Central Drug Store, Rehabilitation of General Hospitals in the senatorial zones as well as the health insurance scheme which would kick off soon amongst other projects, the commissioner however reaffirmed government’s determination in improving the health care system and living conditions of Ndi Anambra.