he Kaduna State Government says it has established Health and Nutrition Clubs in 171 secondary schools across the state to promote good nutritional uptake and healthy practices among school children.
Mrs Ruth Leo, Nutrition Desk Officer, Ministry of Education, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Friday.
Leo explained that the measure was in line with the provision of the National Policy on Health, which mandated the ministry of education to establish such clubs.
According to her, the goal is to encourage learners, particularly adolescents, to know about optimal nutrition and healthy practices for health growth and development to adulthood.
She said that with schools serving as effective agents of change, the strategy would enable the students to spread key messages on good nutrition and healthy practices among their peers.
She explained that guided by patrons, the clubs would set aside specific days to meet and discuss and educate themselves about good nutrition and hygiene practices.
She said that the students would also be educated on how to take good care of themselves and other related health issues.
The Nutrition Desk Officer added that the clubs would also be cultivating nutrition-rich crops in school farms which would be cascaded in their homes through backyard gardens for vegetables and fruits.
“Armed with the knowledge and good practices, the students will further spread the messages to their parents, households, and communities.
“This in the long run will help in effective dissemination of nutrition and health messages to every household in the communities.
“This, in the long run, will help in changing the current narrative of poor nutrition indices and health outcomes among the population of the state, particularly adolescents,” she said.
Leo added that the Society for Family Health, in collaboration with primary health centres, had trained some oflinked the clubs and their matrons and the schools to the healthcare centres for referrals.
She said that the training increased understanding about the connection between health and nutrition, as well as areas of focus during the club’s weekly activities.
She also said that the linkage equally provided an opportunity for the health officials to visit the schools and facilitate health and nutrition talk during club meetings and how to refer cases to health facilities.
“Also, with support from the World Bank-supported Accelerating Nutrition Result In Nigeria (ANRiN), the ministry has recently organised a quiz and debate on nutrition and health issues.
“We were very impressed with the performance of the students which indicated that the strategy will significantly increase health and nutrition knowledge among adolescents in schools and the community,” Leo said. (NAN)