The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has urged the National Assembly to enact laws that would promote breastfeeding to boost nutrition indices.
Miss Lilian Ajah-mong, spokesperson of the organisation, stated this in on Sunday in Abuja in a statement made available to newsmen to commemorate the 2017 World Breastfeeding Week.
The CS-SUNN, is a coalition of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH ).
Ajah-mong said that the enactment of the laws would protect mothers while practicing exclusive breastfeeding.
She noted that such legislation would clamp down on employers of labour who do not adhere to the stipulated maternity leave months for nursing mothers.
Ajah-mong called on all decision makers, partners and relevant stakeholders in the health sector to forge purposeful affiliations that would improve health interventions for Nigerians.
“According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2013, more than 5 million newborns in Nigeria lack essential nutrients.
“They also lack antibodies that would protect them from diseases and death as they are not being exclusively breastfed.
“We call on the National Assembly to enact laws that will protect safe medications for mothers and their infants and ensure strong regulations on marketing of breast milk substitutes or baby formulas.
“This will also enable nursing mothers in Nigeria to be entitled to the constitutional right to breastfeed and newborns the right to be breastfed anywhere, any day and at all times,” she said.
Ajah-mong stressed the need to attain the 50 per cent exclusive breastfeeding targets in the National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (NSPAN) by 2018.
She added that the goal of sustainable promotion and support for optimal breastfeeding would require priority attention in terms of funding and monitoring of progress.
The organisation spokesperson urged governments and other stakeholders to include a budget line for nutrition in the health system.
She also called for nutrition budgets, increase budgetary allocation, timely release of allocated funds for immediate programming and implementation of nutrition interventions.
“Health care practitioners have a key role in influencing child care behaviours and practices of the mothers as they are frequently visited by mothers and children for routine care during sickness.
“We task health care practitioners to scale-up appropriate nutrition counselling on the benefits and management of breastfeeding; early skin to skin contact, exclusive breastfeeding soon after delivery,” Ajah-mong said.
The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated across the globe to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Sustaining exclusive breastfeeding together”