Sep 23, 2008, 6:23 AM
Held at Bwiam Lodge in West Coast Region, the forum was part of the Maternal and Child Nutrition and Health Results Project (MCNHRP), bankrolled by the World Bank.
The project is being jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health Social and Welfare and NaNA.
It is aimed at improving the utilisation of a minimum package of health and nutrition services.
The project is expected to support the long term objective of reducing maternal and child mortality and malnutrition by contributing to the attainment of MDGs 1c, 4 and 5.
Speaking on the occasion, Executive Director of NaNA Pa Modou Phall, who doubles as the project coordinator, said the SBCC component of the project seeks to entrench social and behaviour change communication into the maternal and child health programmes.
He said most of the problems such as poor maternal practices, poor nutritional practices and poor health are very much related to behaviour.
Mr Phall urged people to take ownership of the project and work together to address the barriers to maternal and child health and nutrition in the community.
Modou Njai, director of health promotion and education directorate under the Ministry of Health, urged the project officials to come up with good, simple, reliable, user-friendly and convincing messages that could be adopted by all for improved general nutritional status.
Diarra Kamara Recine, the consultant and representative of World Bank, said behaviour change is very important for all sectors of health particularly in areas related to maternal and child health, not only in the communities but at the health facility level.
She said the World Bank is committed to supporting The Gambia in the implementation of the MCNHRP as the project would have “a positive impact” by promoting a healthy populace.
“If there are healthy children and mothers, there will be less mortality among children and mothers at community level,” Mrs Kamara Recine said.
Abdou Aziz Ceesay, information, education and communication (IEC) officer of NaNA, said the project is very important “because it has a unique approach” which is a resource-based financing instead of input-based.