From Ahmed Kaigama, Bauchi
The United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), is partnering the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) on the need to educate and sensitize women to adopt exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF) for 23 months, UNICEF Chief of D Field Office, Abdullahi Kaikai in his keynote address, at a one day workshop organised by NAWOJ and UNICEF for Journalists and development partners, said media is the best channel of communication to women and the general public.
He urged husbands to ensure that their wives breast feed their children for 23 months as it has a lot of benefits for the health of the children.
He further identified lack of child spacing and lack of awareness as factors responsible for low rate of breast feeding in the northern parts of the country, and called for concerted action plans by state governments and stakeholders in the region as part of efforts to revive the culture of breast feeding among mothers.
Bauchi state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sani Malami said breast feeding is the only way mothers and babies can maintain cohesion saying even “Animals maintain such cohesion due to breast feeding.”
Represented by the Director Nurses Services, Mr. Mamman Musa disclosed that development came with a lot of positive and negative effect on human existence as people try to adapt to the new challenges.
Malami called on mothers not to exchange executive breast feeding with artificial milk feeding, as EBF gives a child all nutritional needs for growth and protection from all diseases associated with infant babies.
A nutrition specialist, Mr. Oluniyi Oyedokun noted that despite the fact that breastfeeding is the most effective and cheapest way of saving a child’s life; the report by the state ministry of health shows that 34% rate of breastfeeding is quite low in Bauchi. He therefore called for concerted efforts by the state government to address the challenges.
According to him, “The 2013 National demographic health NHIS report shows that 29 per cent of under-5 mortality rate was due to lack of exclusive breast feeding. This translates to children dying before they are one month of age.”