The Niger State government has decried the poor rate of breastfeeding, which is estimated at 39.1 per cent amongst women in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Muhammad Makusidi, who disclosed this on Tuesday in Minna, commemorating the 2021 breastfeeding week, called for immediate sensitisation on the benefits to the mother, child, and society.
Mr Makusidi said the ministry would build capacity and provide materials for enlightenment and awareness creation in the general public and strengthen all designated breastfeeding centres.
“In addition, the ministry would continue to take adequate steps and measures to promote breastfeeding, colostrum initiation within one hour of delivery, with the overall target of attaining 100 per cent of exclusive breastfeeding among women.
“Niger State Government is committed to revitalising breastfeeding centres across the state in order to promote exclusive breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding rate in Niger State is about 39.1 per cent, I describe this as low and this calls for immediate action towards promoting breastfeeding.
“This is through early initiation, use of colostrum and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life without water or any liquid followed with appropriate complementary feeding from 6 to 24 months and beyond, ” he said.
He said breastfeeding was the bedrock for achieving child survival goals and reducing the incidence of malnutrition during the first 100 days, from preconception to two years of age.
For this reason, the ministry would continue its sensitisation of rural communities and their environs, while complying with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.
The commissioner also stated that the government was committed to successfully supporting breastfeeding as a requisite nutrition process by ensuring that every child had the right to nutrition through safe and affordable food for adequate nutrition.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the annual breastfeeding week, celebrated every August 1 to 7, aims to increase awareness of the health and wellbeing outcomes of breastfeeding for infants, young children and mothers.
This year’s celebration has as its theme: “Support Breastfeeding, a Shared Responsibility”.
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