Exclusive Breastfeeding: Nigeria to reduce under-5 child mortality by 13% if ... - UNICEF
"Breastfeeding also acts as babies' first vaccine, protecting them against many common childhood illnesses"
The United Nations Children's Fund ( UNICEF) has said that Kano state alone accounts for 1.5 million malnourished childrem in Nigeria, while 108,544 were wasted and over 2 million suffering from anaemia in the country
Disclosing this on Tuesday during a media dialogue on "Stronger With Breastfeeding Only," the UNICEF Nutritionist Specialist, Niyi Oyedokun said the initiative was part of activities to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week 2022 in Kano State.
According to him, Nigeria stands a chance to reduce under-5 child mortality by 13 per cent if exclusive breastfeeding is practiced to the fullest.
UNICEF is unhappy with the slow progress made by Nigeria which ranks 2nd to India in the world and 1st in Africa with malnourished children indices noting that that makes it unrealistic for the country to attain or reach the World Health Assembly 50 per cent practice of exclusive breastfeeding.
"This is alarming situation that half of the under 5 children in Kano are not growing well (stunted). It has been there for quite some time and we are not getting better."
Oyedokun noted that the nation stands to reduce diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary infection among others in childhood with practice of exclusive breastfeeding.
He cautioned mothers and caregivers against practice of giving their infant children water, other liquids or food but solely practice exclusive breastfeeding noting that water does more harm than good to the infants.
He added that, "initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth is very critical because whatever goes wrong at this stage is irreversible, followed by exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond offer a powerful line of defence against all forms of child malnutrition, including wasting and obesity.
"Breastfeeding also acts as babies' first vaccine, protecting them against many common childhood illnesses," he explained.
"Our emphasis here is stronger with breastfeeding only and zero water campaign. Breast milk contains 88% water, 3.8% fat, 0.9% protein, 7.0% lactose and 0.2 others. Give babies breast milk only, on demand (day and night), and stop the practice of giving water (and other liquids or foods), from the moment of birth through the first six months of life.
Earlier, the Director-General, Abubakar Rimi Television, ARTV, Hajia Sa'a Ibrahim urged media practitioners to champion the course and practice of exclusive breastfeeding in order to change the narrative in the state and nation at large.
She urged pressmen to adequately educate the teeming populace on the need to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for their children from zero age to six months