A global nutrition initiative, Alive & Thrive, and the Kaduna State Government, say they are mobiliding nutrition stakeholders to promote exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
The event was to commemorate the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week with the theme: “Step up for Breastfeeding, Educate and Support.”
The stakeholders comprise Civil Society Organisations, community leaders, development partners, state ministries, departments and agencies, NAFDAC, healthcare workers and the media.
At the nutrition community engagement forum in Kaduna, Mrs. Sarah Kwasu, Kaduna State Team Lead of Alive & Thrive, said the community engagement forum would provide opportunity for stakeholders at different levels in society to interact and share ideas.
She said the forum would also avail them the opportunity to share successes, best practices, opportunities, challenges and to further collaborate in bridging the existing gaps on breastfeeding in their various communities.
She noted that the forum would inform, engage, and galvanise all the stakeholders to step up for breastfeeding by protecting, promoting and supporting the act in their various capacities in the society and their homes.
Kwasu explained that exclusively breastfeeding infants breastmilk only during the first six months of life was one of the essential actions for infant development and survival.
She said the meeting had set new motivation for breastfeeding campaign in Kaduna state.
She said they were pleased to work closely with the state’s Ministry of Health, Primary Healthcare Development Agency and other partners in commemorating the WBW.
“We look forward to incorporating recommendations from the forum into our programming as we work to improve maternal, adolescent, infant, and young children nutrition in Kaduna state,” Kwasu said.
She called for the need for stakeholders at all levels to redouble their efforts in ensuring exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
Earlier, the Kaduna State Nutrition Officer, Ramatu Musa, said the meeting was to highlight best practices and strategies to be used in achieving success in promoting exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
She said that they would outline the existing gaps, challenges in practising or promoting exclusive breastfeeding amongst beneficiaries and service providers and suggest way forward.
“We will highlight opportunities and deliberate on how to better sustain the successes made, and further collaborate in bridging the existing gaps on breastfeeding in their various communities.”
Musa said they would further develop plan of actions, and get stakeholders commitment to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
Also, a nutrition specialist with UNICEF, Kaduna Office, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, said practising exclusive breastfeeding by nursing mothers for six months ensured proper well-being of their babies.
Also, a member of the panellist, Mallam Isa Abubakar, said Islam supported women to embark on exclusive breastfeeding to enhance the health of their babies.
According to him, exclusive breastfeeding will not harm the child, noting that Islam is not against it.
Alive & Thrive, being funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently began the second phase of its activities in Nigeria with “Accelerating the Scale of Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (ASMIYCN) Project in Kaduna and six other states.
NAN reports that Minister of State for Health Joseph Ekumankama had on Aug. 1, inaugurated Nigeria’s celebration of WBW, where key stakeholders, including
the Minister of Women Affairs and the Senate Committee on Health attended.
Other stakeholders present at the event were representatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UN agencies.(NAN)