By Philip Yatai
The Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Board on Wednesday organised a baby show and community dialogue as part of activities to celebrate the 2021 World Breastfeeding Week.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event took place at the Primary Health Care Centre, Badarawa, Kaduna North Local Government Area of the state.
The state Nutrition Officer, Mrs Ramatu Haruna, explained that the event, supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was to encourage the practice of Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF).
Haruna further explained that the event was also organised to mobilise relevant stakeholders to support mothers to practice EBF in line with this year’s theme, “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”.
“The event is specifically organised to honour nursing mothers towards exclusively breastfeeding their babies to encourage others to emulate for the healthy growth and development of their babies.
“The dialogue with community members is to also share experience and understanding on the importance of feeding newborn babies with breastmilk,” she said.
A four months Halima Ahmad, weighing 7.8kg, won the show; followed by another four months old Abbas Tukur, 7.5kg, and Ahmed Abubakar, two months, 8.2kg.
The nutrition officer explained that the criteria for the selection included if the baby was exclusively breastfed, weight, skin glow, babies and mother’s cleanliness and must be between two and six months.
Dr Zakari Adam, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, pointed out that breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of children, and should not be seen as the sole responsibility of women.
Adam, who was represented by Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, stressed the need for all stakeholders to promote breastfeeding practice, adding that successful breastfeeding demands the supportive actions of all.
“Everyone, including government, legislators, family, healthcare system, employers, has a vital role to play by creating an enabling environment to help mothers to optimally breastfeed their infants,” he said.
According to him, breastfeeding prevents diseases, promotes good health, contributes to reducing health inequalities and saves health service costs.
He added that breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs for healthy growth and development for the first six months of life, thus providing food security for that critical period.
“Early initiation of breastfeeding contributes to child survival and the prevention of neonatal mortality, while exclusive breastfeeding significantly reduces incidence of childhood killer diseases, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.
“Long-term health benefits include reduced risk of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders that attended the event include Alive and Thrive (fhi 360), Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan and National Orientation Agency.
Others include Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria, Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, other government agencies, development partners and academics. (NAN)