United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Sunday, commended the Kajuru Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State, for announcing a monthly release of N500,000 for feeding of children.

The monthly release of N500,000 is part of effort to own and promote Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) in 203 communities of the council area.

UNICEF’s Kaduna Chief of Field Office, Mr Utpal Moitra, who gave the commendation in a statement in Kaduna described the effort as positive and welcome development.

Moitra said the effort was a positive development towards institutionalising ownership of programme by the local government authorities.

According to him, Kajuru LGA Chairman, Sani Magaji, has placed nutrition as a priority in the agenda of the local government and is committed to the success of the programme.

``In March, 2016, the Federal Ministry of Health, Kaduna State Ministry of Health and other ministries and agencies met with UNICEF and USAID-funded SPRING project to improve IYCF practice in the area as a pilot scheme.

``It was agreed at the meeting that to improve nutrition and child survival in the State, the state government is to release a total of nine million annually.

``N500,000 monthly for Community-based IYCF and N250,000 monthly for Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) for each LGA.

``The chairman of Kajuru LGA has therefore approved the monthly release of the N500,000 to promote IYCF and pledged his administration commitment to supervise the programme, " he said.

Moitra said that the Community-based infant and young child feeding promotion, counselling, and support had been acknowledged as one of the key pillars and strategy for combating malnutrition and other diseases associated with high under five mortality rates.

``UNICEF developed a global counselling package to equip community and health facility workers to support caregivers to optimally feed their infants and young children.

``In 2014, the USAID-funded SPRING project, UNICEF, and the Federal Ministry of Health collaborate to evaluate the effectiveness of the Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (C-IYCF) Counselling Package in Nigeria.

``A fundamental aspect of this study is the sustainability and scale-ability of the intervention, cost containment as well as local ownership and responsibility,’’ he said.