The National Nurses Association of Kenya (NNA-Kenya) in partnership with Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA) have today launched a post-graduate course to equip pediatric and midwifery nurses with knowledge and skills in the ‘First 1000 Days’ of a child’s life.
The training dubbed “First 1000 Days Nurses Academy” will be conducted annually by distinguished experts and is expected to play a great role in helping the country address the rising cases of infant mortality and malnutrition. The course will include three modules with some of the topics covering areas on, Maternal Nutrition in Preconception & Pregnancy, Complementary Feeding and Toddler Nutrition.
“This training partnership comes at a very opportune time when numerous scientific studies have emphasized the importance of the first 1000 days of life, the period from conception to age of two years characterized by rapid growth of body, cognitive and brain development,” said Professor Fredrick Were, NNIA Board member.
Professor Were said it is estimated that more than 170 million children world over do not get an opportunity to reach their full potential because of poor nutrition early in life –and this can be adequately addressed if the right information and advice is given to mothers by healthcare professionals.
“The partnership between NNAK and NNIA combines the expertise of both parties to bring to the fore the need for proper and adequate nutrition during the first 1000 days. Our emphasis are on the health and well-being of a pregnant and lactating woman which is directly connected to the growth and health of her infant. Deficiencies caused by malnutrition in the first 1000 days are irreversible after the age of two years. Also, we believe that breastfeeding can save 22 percent of newborns,” explained Professor Were.
According WHO, strategies to improve nutritional status and growth in children (in the First 1000 Days) should include interventions to improve nutrition of pregnant and lactating women with early initiation of breastfeeding up to six months. On this, WHO observes that the role of health workers like nurses and midwives is critical as they help implement plans such as complementary feeding counselling, growth monitoring and other interventions.
“Nurses and midwives meet critical needs in the communities by screening children for malnutrition, treating diarrhea, promoting breastfeeding, distributing vitamins and other micronutrients, and counseling mothers about balanced diet, hygiene and sanitation,” said Dr. Alfred Obengo, NNAK Chairman.
The NNAK-NNIA ‘First 1000 Days Nurses Academy’ aims to translate the latest science into practical nutrition & feeding advice in addressing these challenges. This is expected to give nurses the incredible opportunity to help babies reach their full potential so that every baby can lead a happy, healthy and productive life.
Upon completion of the training, each nurse will receive a certificate as well as Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Points.