As a part of its deliberate effort to promote six months of exclusive breastfeeding among reproductive-age women in Nigeria, Alive and Thrive (AT) has appealed to media organisation in the Country to establish a creche to enable nursing mothers to have unhindered access to their infants.
AT is an initiative to save lives, prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development through optimal maternal nutrition, breastfeeding, and complementary feeding practices.
Northwest Zonal Coordinator of AT, Mrs. Sarah Kwasau made the call during a media roundtable roundtable meeting to promote salience issues on Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MICYN) aimed at reorientating and updating journalists on key issues in MICYN.
According to her, media organisations should also practice what they write about so they are also answers to the prayers of their female staff considering the health and economic values of good breastfeeding practice.
“We want to commend our media organisations and journalists for their great works which have translated into a lot of successes around the issues of nutrition and supplementary in Nigeria.
“We want to still appeal to you to do more by establishing creche in your various organisations to promote exclusive breastfeeding in your workplace, especially for those in States where the maternity leave is just three months.
“In Kaduna State, we already have a legal framework that supports six months paid maternity leave for those in the employment of the State Government. We are now pushing for the private sector to key into this. The essence is to have children with excellent cognitive development to take over the leadership of this great Country”, she said.
Also speaking, Breast Milk Substitute (BMS) Desk Officer, NAFDAC, Kaduna Office, Rahila Maishanu reiterated the need for the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding.”We need to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the sake of our children, family, and the country. For the children, it helps in their physical development and cognitive sustainability, it helps them in acquiring immunity that reduces the chances of illnesses like diabetes, diarrhea, and obesity.
“What this means is that a well-breastfed child benefits in several ways. The child will be very brilliant.
“For the mother, exclusive breastfeeding helps to reduce her chances of having breast cancer and ovarian cancer while helping the father to spend less. For example, the money he will use on substitute can be channeled towards another productive venture.
“It costs about N400,000 to cure acute malnutrition in a child. Imagine if the government is not subsidising it how many families can afford that? So the money the government is using to procure ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) can be used for other things.
“NAFDAC has put up a national regulation based on the code enacted by the World Health Organisation in 1981 which listed violation and penalties as well for the manufacturers and promote of infant substitute food and we are trying to ensure full compliance to this international code so we can improve the rate of breastfeeding for our collective survival.
“So the role of the media cannot be overemphasised in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding, every consequence of note starts and ends with information and education and the media is believed to be the best medium to educate and inform the public.
“While all instruments to achieve the international mandate of 50% rate of EBF by 2025 may be in place, it is only through the media as stakeholders in this endeavour can the goal can be achieved”, she noted.
Sent by Ojo Shola