FROM: PAUL ORUDE, BAUCHI
The United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) says that no fewer than 11 million children in Nigeria are suffering from acute malnutrition, with north east and north west regions among the worst hit.
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Bauchi, Abdulai KaiKai, disclosed this while speaking during the flag-off of six Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAN) in Bauchi State, being part of the programme to commemorate this year’s breast feeding week.
Kaikai said the week was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with Bauchi State Government and the State chapter of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).
He said that the level of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria was only 17 percent, meaning that at least 5.4 million children missed out on its benefits, thereby contributing to the country’s problem of chronic child malnutrition.
Kaikai, who was represented by the Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Field Office, Bauchi, Philomena Irena, commended the State Government for their support in tackling acute malnutrition in the state.
On exclusive breastfeeding, Kaikai said delaying breastfeeding by two to 23 hours after birth increases the risk of dying in the first 28 days of a baby’s life by 40 percent.
He said: “Knowledge about importance of exclusive breastfeeding is low in Nigeria. “In parts of the country, only about 25 per cent of mothers know that
new born babies should be given only breast milk in the first six months of life.
“Many think incorrectly that babies should be given breast milk alone for only two to four months”
Kaikai disclosed that UNICEF has stepped up the fight against
malnutrition by establishing six additional CMAN sites in Bauchi
State, thus bringing the total number of CMAN sites in the state to nine.
He said that three CMAN sites were first initiated in three local government areas of Dambam, Kirfi and Katagum
He said that the six new CMAN sites are located in Bauchi, Darazo,
Itas Gadu, Warji, Gamawa and Tafawa Balewa local government areas.
In his remarks, Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care
Agency (BSPHCDA), Adamu Gamawa, revealed that nine additional CMAN centres would be established in the state by 2018.
Gamawa stressed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for children under six months, calling on mothers to ensure that their children were well breastfed.
He thus re-iterated the commitment of the state Government in
ensuring adequate health care service for mothers and children
Highlight of the week occasion was donation of gifts to mothers doing
exclusive breastfeeding as well as up-to-date on immunization for