By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
The Alive and Thrive Project of the FHI360, has tasked the Kaduna State Government, to engage the media regularly for effective dissemination of Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) messages across the state.
Abubakar Adamu, State Programme Officer of the project, who made the call on Wednesday in Kaduna at a media engagement on Exclusive Breastfeeding, organized by Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), noted that the government can take advantage of the numerous media outlets in the state in sensitizing women, especially those in the rural areas.
He said the state is not doing enough in terms of campaigns on exclusive breastfeeding, adding that they only focus on world breastfeeding week, which he said is not enough.
According him, though the state has made some progress according between 2013 and 2018, where exclusive breastfeeding rate in Kaduna was 13% as at 2013 but rise to 19.7% in 2018.
Abubakar, enumerated the benefits of EBF, to include; prevention of “103,742 child deaths, an important contribution to reducing overall under-five child mortality. Prevent 1,511 maternal deaths from cancers and type II diabetes, save over US$22 million (₦6.93 billion) in health system treatment costs related to inadequate breastfeeding.
“Generate an additional US$21 billion (₦6.62 trillion) for the economy, or 4.1 percent of its GNI, over children’s productive years by increasing cognitive capacity and preventing premature mortality in the early years. Reduce families’ out of pocket expenditures to treat diarrhea and pneumonia.”
On the cost of neglecting EBF, He said, it “increases vulnerability to disease results in more maternal and child mortality. Health care costs to treat children and mothers, cognitive losses result in lost wages for individualsIndirect costs to treat diseases result in significant costs for families. Formula costs are significant and reduce a family’s disposable income.”
Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated. Practice rooming-in – allow mothers and infants to remain together – 24 hours a day. Encourage breastfeeding on demand. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
He therefore recommend the implementation of policies and practices in health facilities which includes nutrition counseling and the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding in hospital standards and accreditation systems. International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes: Enact and enforce national legislation to restrict the aggressive marketing of products that undermine breastfeeding, and strengthen the consequences for violators.
Paid Leave and Workplace Policies: Expand paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies for all workers in the formal and informal sectors, and allocate public funding. Social and Behavior Change Communication: Use multiple communication channels tailored to the local context, including community networks and community-based workers.
Earlier in his remarks, Silas Ideva Kaduna State Coordinator of CS-SUNN, said the media engagement was aimed at ensuring that the media persons reporting nutrition are alive and at alert in promotion nutrition messages.
He said following the World Health Organization recommendation that mothers worldwide exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health, it is thereafter expedient, that babies should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years or beyond.
However, Silas added that mothers who want to practice exclusive breastfeeding are constrained by a number of factors, ranging from lack of institutional and family support, inadequate baby-friendly facilities to lack of awareness and length of maternity leave.
“In Kaduna State we are fortunate to have the declaration by His Excellency the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, I recall that during the webinar, we were informed during the key message of her Excellency, that processes are ongoing to institutionalize the commitment on Maternity leave. We call on government, and responsible agencies and institutions, to institutionalize this commitment.”