UNICEF Strengthens Capacity of Midwifery, Nursing Students, Health Workers On Breastfeeding, IYCN

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By ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna

As part of strategy to strengthen the capacity of people in Kaduna State in promoting Exclusive Breastfeeding, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Wednesday, organized a symposium for Students of Kaduna State College of Midwifery, Tudun Wada.

The symposium according to UNICEF, is aimed at creating awareness amongst the students of midwifery, nurses and other healthcare workers to help prepare them for the future both as healthcare workers and potential parents to be able to address all issues around breastfeeding and Optimal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (IYCN).

Speaking at the Symposium, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Nutrition Specialist, Chinwe Ezeife, who represented the Officer in Charge, Dr. Idris Baba, said UNICEF, is highly responsible in supporting government to a good outcomes for the welfare, well being, good health and nutrition of woman and children are met.

According to her, “our focus though is on the entire population, but we want to ensure that our vulnerable groups; the women and children are optimally maintained and we hope and believe that with this symposium we would have strengthen the capacity of our medical students and healthcare workers to be able to address all issues around breastfeeding and as a matter of fact optimum infant and young child nutrition.”

Ezeife, said the symposium was organized as part of activities to mark the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week, noting “it is very important that as we are giving prominence to this year’s world breastfeeding week with the theme ‘step up for breastfeeding; educate and support’, we have prioritise the students as one of the important stakeholders, because they are the future mothers, they are the future fathers, they are the healthcare workers. The responsibility of ensuring that breastfeeding is continued lies squarely on them.

“One other important fact is that it is not just breastfeeding, there are good strategies in line with WHO recommendation which the federal government of Nigeria has also adapted as the national policy on Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition and so today we are flagging exclusive breastfeeding up with the view to strengthen capacities and supporting people at their various places to play the critical roles.”

She added that UNICEF is working around the 3Es practices and strategies, which are “Early initiation of breastfeeding; this must occur within 1hour of childbirth, then the Exclusive breastfeeding that we are promoting, supporting and protecting must happen from 0-6 month of that child’s life. What that means is that, there should be is zero water; don’t introduce water, no fluids, no other foods. 

“Exclusively breastfeed that child for the first 6months of life and then at 6months we encourage mothers, we encourage families to now embark on Extended breastfeeding meaning continue to breastfeed from that zero month to 24 month, but introduce adequate complimentary foods from 6months. 

“Those are the 3Es that must happen at this strategic age of that child and we are going to get the full health benefits of breastfeeding and that is why our students are very important to us so that pre-service they are equipped with these knowledge with this skills and they will practice all these when they become our health care workers.”

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