By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, Amina Mohammed Baloni on Thursday, said that the state is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of all citizens as the government has invested vast resources in the health sector.
Amina Baloni expressed this during a press briefing to commemorate the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) held in Kaduna.
She said women of childbearing, pregnant women and children under five constitute the vulnerable population on account of their poor socio-economic status, making them susceptible to diseases that are largely preventable.
Amina noted that this month, there are are three important programmes aimed at increasing coverage of health intervention and attainment of this goal.
According to her, the first of such programmes is the commemoration of of the WBW from August 1 to 7, 2022, with the theme, “Step up for breastfeeding and support” and the OBR for Circulating Mutant Polio Virus (CMPV2) also commencing from August 6 to 9, 2022, while MNCHO holds from 8th to 12th of same month.
She said these programmes are on the heels of the just concluded mass distribution of insecticide treated nets to prevent malaria that most of the eligible residents in Kaduna benefitted.
The commissioner, emphasized the importance of breastfeeding.
She said, “It plays an important role in managing the double burden of malnutrition, in addition to providing food security and reducing inequalities, that is why WBW is celebrated globally annually.
“WBW of the year 2022 also focuses on strengthening the capacity of actors to protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of society.
“Therefore, these actors make up the warm chain of support for breastfeeding through education and transformation of the existing system which will help to ensure breastfeeding friendly healthcare facilities”.
The commissioner explained that this supports nutrition interventions, with the pronouncement and implemention of a six-month paid maternity leave, extended from the earlier three months for mothers working in the state civil service.
“This has already taken effect across all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) with the hope that all others even in the private and federal sectors working in the state will follow suit,” she added.
She said, this is in addition to the establishment of creches across MDAs to support lactating mothers to continue breastfeeding their infants even after the maternity leave and they resume work.
She added that, nutrition corner was established across all 255 PHC centres of the 23 local government areas to provide nutrition counselling and practical demonstration on how to adequately prepare food to feed infants aged six to 59 months.
Baloni, disclosed that Kaduna State is implementing MNCHW, a very important intervention, to ensure that mother-baby pair benefit from immunization.
“However, women also have the opportunity to benefit from child spacing interventions, HIV counselling and testing.
“Key household practices that promote health like basic hygiene, including hand washing and food demonstration and antenatal care,” she stressed.
She appealed to all health workers to reflect on the need to improve on indices in the state and diligently perform their duties and responsibilities with passion and to the best of their ability to promote health and improve the quality of life of their clients.