UNICEF Refers 92,000 Women, Mothers With Breastfeeding Difficulties To Maternal, Infant Nutrition Counselling

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By; SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri

The UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office Officer-in-Charge, Mr. Samuel B. Sesay  has said that with support from  partners, more than 92,000 women and mothers with breastfeeding  difficulties have been referred for Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition counselling.

 He stated  this  on Tuesday at the flag off ceremony of 2022 World Breastfeeding Week in Maiduguri, Borno State, which was held at the State Specialist Hospital Maiduguri that UNICEF will continue to support governments in Borno and across North-East Nigeria to ensure that children survive and thrive.

According to him, the World Breastfeeding Week is an annual opportunity to assess challenges and progress recorded on the path of exclusive breastfeeding while noting that the quality of this gathering shows the importance that the people and government and people of Borno State attach to child nutrition and overall wellbeing. 

Among other interventions,   Mr. Samuel said UNICEF is providing micronutrient powders and life-saving therapeutic food to children with acute malnutrition while more than 490,000 mothers and caregivers have been reached with personal hygiene, nutrition and COVID-19 prevention information.

The Field Officer in Charge  further explained that UNICEF will continue to work with the Borno State Government, and the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency for the wellbeing of all children.

“I have no doubt that with commitment and consistent leadership from all stakeholders, the future of children in Borno State is bright. Exclusive breastfeeding plays an important role in managing the double burden of malnutrition and food insecurity.

 “It provides children the best start in life and the foundation for children to grow and nations to prosper.  A  study conducted by UNICEF and the Federal Ministry of Health in 2017 showed that inadequate and low rates of breastfeeding leads to 10 million avoidable cases of childhood diarrhoea ad pneumonia and even more than 100,000 child deaths. 

“Exclusive breastfeeding benefits children, mothers, families and the nation. There is evidence today that every 1,000 naira invested in supporting optimal breastfeeding can generate an estimated 35,000 naira in economic returns for Nigeria.

“Maternal benefits of breastfeeding include decreased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Infants who are breastfed have a decreased risk of atopic dermatitis and gastroenteritis and have a higher Intelligent Quotient later in life. 

“Breastfeeding as we know plays an important role in managing the double burden of malnutrition. it provides food security and reduces inequality. It is the single most powerful means to fight against poverty and disease.

 “Through community nutrition mobilisers and Mothers’ Support Group, over 93,000 children have been referred to health sites for severe acute malnutrition treatment. 

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