FG Begins Training Of ‘Master’ Trainers To Promote Active, Healthy Behaviours

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The Federal Government has commenced a pivotal training programme to develop master trainers who will advocate for active and healthy behaviours nationwide.

Director of the nutrition department at Breakthrough ACTION Nigeria, Dr. Bako Ladiaiyegbusi made this announcement at the organisation’s learning and transition event themed “Celebrating Successes, Consolidating Learning and Transitioning for Sustainability.”

Breakthrough ACTION, USAID’s flagship social and behaviour change project for the past 7 years, has worked in Nigeria to enhance the practice of key health behaviours in areas such as maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), family planning (FP), nutrition, malaria, tuberculosis, COVID-19 and priority zoonotic diseases (PZDs).

Ladiaiyegbusi highlighted that with the increasing public health concerns, this initiative showcases the government’s dedication to proactive measures against lifestyle-related illnesses and the promotion of general well-being. The training programme aims to equip selected individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to advocate for and facilitate behaviour change in their communities.

Through a comprehensive curriculum covering topics like nutrition, physical activity, mental health and preventive healthcare, master trainers will be empowered to lead initiatives promoting healthy living and disease prevention. By engaging with local populations using culturally relevant approaches, they will act as catalysts for positive lifestyle changes, motivating others to adopt behaviours conducive to optimal health outcomes.

This initiative aligns with global efforts to combat the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and emphasises the significance of preventive healthcare strategies. The government’s investment in the training and development of master trainers aims to create a ripple effect, with these empowered individuals spreading knowledge and cultivating a culture of wellness within their communities.

The constraints on the Breakthrough ACTION Nigeria Learning and Transition Health indices in Nigeria have been influenced by various factors. The public health approach, social and behaviour change, aims to understand individuals’ and communities’ beliefs and behaviours, developing innovative strategies to encourage healthier behaviours and access essential health services.

Since beginning work in Nigeria, the project has employed a multifaceted approach, including mass media, community outreach and user-driven social media campaigns, to inspire enduring change. These efforts have brought about positive changes in several health areas, such as reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, nutrition and the uptake of malaria, tuberculosis and COVID-19 vaccines.

Among other insights, Breakthrough ACTION discovered that women engaged in community activities were notably more likely to practice various preventive behaviors compared to those who did not participate. These behaviours include at least four ante-natal visits during pregnancy, delivering at a health facility, exclusive breastfeeding, a diverse diet and receiving preventive malaria medication at least thrice during pregnancy.

Racheal Abujah
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