UNITED Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged parents and other stakeholders to show more commitment toward the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding in Bauchi State.
Mr Bahnu Pathak, the Chief Field Officer of UNICEF in the state, made the call during an event to mark the 2019 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) on Wednesday in Bauchi.
Celebrated annually between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 in more than 120 countries across the globe, WBW was inaugurated in 1991 to raise awareness on the benefits of breastfeeding to nursing mothers and babies.
The theme for this year is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding Now and the Future.”
Pathak said “breastfeeding provides total food security for infants. It is readily available, affordable, nutritious and sufficient for infants from birth till two years.
“It helps to prevent diseases and allergies for children, while for mothers it reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, increases bonding and helps in birth spacing.
“UNICEF, therefore, calls on parents, community and religious leaders, policymakers and stakeholders to support the practice of exclusive breastfeeding in the state.”
The wife of the state governor, Mrs Aisha Mohammed, explained that breastfeeding promotes better development of the brain and nervous system of infants in the first five years.
She said, “breastfeeding provides a unique mix of nutrients and antibodies necessary for baby’s good health.”
Represented by the wife of the state’s House of Assembly Speaker, Hajiya Hauwa Abubakar, the governor’s wife urged mothers to give their babies only breast milk in the first six months of their lives.
Mrs Bulak Afsa, the Chairperson of Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in the state, said
exclusive breastfeeding boosts and strengthens the immunity of children.
She donated wrappers, pampers, children’s shoes and flasks to the first, second and third nursing mothers
and children adjudged the best in practising exclusive breastfeeding.
The Chairman, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Mr Mustapha Bello, called for stronger partnership
among stakeholders to further scale up exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
He called for a strong partnership between government and non-governmental organisations to promote breastfeeding among women.