From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As a part of the activities lined up for the commemoration of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week in Kaduna State, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on Wednesday restated the importance of the six months of exclusive breastfeeding describing it as a “non-negotiable”.
The theme for this year’s exclusive breastfeeding campaign week is ‘Step up for Breastfeeding’ which seeks to involve governments, communities and individuals aiming at raising awareness about sustainable breastfeeding environments.
Highlighting some of the immediate and remote benefits of the six months of exclusive breastfeeding, Nutrition Vocal Person, Chikun Local Government, Kaduna State, Jummai Hamza, said “breast milk is the foundation of the child as it provides all the nutrients which the child needs for the first six months.
“It gives the child’s body immunity against infections. It increases the bond between the mother and the child. It saves cost because you don’t have to buy milk.
“According to research, children that were exclusively breastfed are very intelligent children which will, in turn, bring about positive changes in their communities of residence.
“One of the procedures for breastfeeding is that a child should empty a breast and when the child is not okay, he goes to the second breast and when the child is okay, he will suspend the breastfeeding by himself. So, mothers are not supposed to rush while breastfeeding their children. That is why we are saying six months of exclusive breastfeeding is non-negotiable. It must be six months”, she said.
A member of the CS-SUNN team and Executive Director of Yakwai Human Touch Foundation (YAHTOF), Mrs Elizabeth D Hassan told Daily Sun at the sideline of a town hall meeting at Narayi Bayan Dutse, Kaduna that, grassroots engagement became necessary to ensure all hands are on deck to ensure healthier and productive Kaduna State.
“After engaging higher authority on policy and system strengthening around nutrition including exclusive breastfeeding, CS-SUNN has decided to take the message down to the community so we can move together without leaving anyone behind.
“It is a good idea that we can meet women and families both at the primary health care facility and here at the community level. This is a plus for us in this campaign because the first one thousand days window”, she said.
Village Head, Narayi Bayan Dutse, Kakuri Musa who spoke through his secretary, Emmanuel Adamu thanked the visiting team and promised to take it upon himself to ensure reproductive-age mothers within his community get the information.
“This exclusive breastfeeding sensitisation you people have brought down to our community is a plus to us and you can hear our lactating mothers asking important questions as applicable to them as breastfeeding mothers.
“The good thing is that these women here are ambassadors to others who could not make it here. They will spread the message within their houses and even at the health facility here in Bayan Dutse. We thank the CS-SUNN team and government officials for this important programme in our community,” he said.