By, ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Stakeholders in nutrition on Wednesday, commended Alive & Thrive, for supporting the Kaduna State Government by organizing nutrition community engagement forum in commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Week 2022.
The stakeholders which comprise of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Leaders, Development Partners, State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Healthcare workers and the media, noted that the meeting has set a new motivation for breastfeeding campaign in the state.
The nutrition community engagement forum provides an opportunity for Nutrition stakeholders at different levels in society (community members, Health service providers and key Nutrition-focused government ministries, departments and agencies as well as partners) to interact and share ideas on successes, best practices, opportunities, challenges and to further collaborate in bridging the existing gaps on breastfeeding in their various communities.
The forum informed, engaged, and galvanized all stakeholders to step up for breastfeeding, protect, promote, and support breastfeeding within their respective roles.
Alive & Thrive recently commenced the second phase of its activities in Nigeria with the Accelerating the Scale of Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (ASMIYCN) project in Kaduna and six other states, which resonates with the 2022 WBW theme: “Step up for Breastfeeding, Educate and Support.”
The Minister of State for Health, Joseph Ekumankama, on Monday, August 1, 2022, flagged off Nigeria’s celebration of World Breastfeeding Week in the presence of key stakeholders including the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Victor Ajieroh of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, representatives of UN Agencies, civil society organizations, and media.
Sarah Kwasu, Kaduna State Team Lead of Alive & Thrive Nigeria, in her remarks said, “Alive & Thrive is pleased to work closely with the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, the Kaduna State Primary Healthcare Development Agency and other partners in commemorating this year’s World Breastfeeding Week.
“We look forward to incorporating recommendations from the forum into our programming as we work to improve maternal, adolescent, infant, and young children nutrition in Kaduna States.”
Stakeholders at multiple levels need to redouble their efforts.
She added that Exclusive breastfeeding is feeding infants breast milk only during the first six months of life which is one of the essential actions for infant development and survival, noting “We’ve made significant progress in recent years. But we can and must do more.”
Earlier, the Nutrition Officer, Ramatu Musa, said the aim of the meeting is to highlight best practices and strategies used in achieving successes promoting breastfeeding in Kaduna, outline existing gaps, challenges in practicing or promoting breastfeeding amongst beneficiaries and service providers and suggest way forward.
“To highlight opportunities and deliberate on how to better sustain the successes made, and further collaborate in bridging the existing gaps on breastfeeding in their various communities. To develop next plan of actions, and get stakeholders commitment to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in Kaduna State,” she added.
Globally, the Alive & Thrive initiative saves lives, prevents illness, and improves the health and wellbeing of mothers, children, and adolescents by using evidence-based approaches in collaboration with governments and other partners.