By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, has enjoined the entire society to create a support base for mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children.
Dr. Hadiza, noted that the benefits of Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF) is for the entire society not for the child or mother alone because a healthy child leads to a more productive adult.
She made the call on Monday at a press briefing to flag off the commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Week 2023 (WBW) in the state, organized by the Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), supported by Alive and Thrive.
Represented by the Commissioner of Health, Umma Kaltume Ahmed, the Deputy Governor, said “a healthy child leads to a more productive adult. All employers of labor, both formal and informal, families and communities must join hands with the government to create an enabling environment to support women to appropriately feed their babies.
“Breastfeeding is a shared responsibility and it involves me, you, our family members, the community, LGAs and the entire state, hence the need to strengthen the capacity of all the stakeholders to protect, support and promote breastfeeding.
“This is to ensure that we provide a conducive environment for our mother’s to give the maximum quantum of care to our infants and young children.
“We need to put our hands together to create a support base for the mother to exclusively breastfeed the baby for the benefit of the child, the parents, the family, the community, the state and the country at large.”
She added that the need for this year’s WBW is more critical looking at the poor indices still being recorded in the state as a result of nutrition challenges.
“Early Initiation of Breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth in Kaduna State according to MICS 2021 has dropped from 35.9% (NDHS 2018) to 13% (MICS 2021) however Exclusive Breastfeeding (i.e feeding a child with only breast milk, no water or drinks for the 1st six months) has appreciated from 19.7% (NDHS 2018) to 41.1% (MICS 2021).
“Based on these sub-optimal indices, the need to scale up efforts in promoting early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding of infants 0-6 months old, and introduction of appropriate complimentary feeding practices through social and behavioral change communication strategies becomes even more paramount.
“These efforts will no doubt enable us all to protect, promote and support these high impact, low-cost, and highly effective Breastfeeding and other Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) practices for our vulnerable groups.” She said.
She commended partners and other stakeholders for their contributions and support for government in the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding in the state, adding “I want to specially acknowledge and thank all our Partners; UNICEF, Alive and Thrive, CS-SUNN and others, the traditional and religious institutions, media, and our MDAs that have collectively contributed towards the successful conduct of the WBW.”
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), is celebrated globally from 1st to 7th of August annually to address issues relating to poor early initiation of breastfeeding (within 1 hour of birth), exclusive breastfeeding of infants for a period of 6 months, and introduction of appropriate complementary feeding from 6 months and above, as well as continued breastfeeding up to 2 years or beyond.