The wife of the Kaduna State Governor, Hajiya Aisha El’Rufai is calling on all states in Nigeria to place high priority on Nutrition so as to improve the cognitive development of children.
She made the disclosure at the CS-SUNN media roundtable on Exclusive Breastfeeding in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, she encouraged all mothers to practice Exclusive Breastfeeding for at least six months, as it is critical to the overall development of the child.
The Wife of the Kaduna State Governor said many nursing mothers usually add water, while also practising the art, which is not a good idea.
“Adequate measures should be put in place to ensure that mothers always give the right food nutrient to their child, which often comes in the form of breastmilk.
Breastfeeding enhances the infant immune system, and strengthens development of the child. “
She further emphasized that adequate nutrition in the first 1000 days from pregnancy to two years of age is critical to enable all children lead healthier and more productive lives.
“In some communities and families, strict adherence to myths about the first milk being harmful to a child, has often served as impediment for many people.
At the same time some mother in-laws discourage the mothers from giving the child Exclusive Breastfeeding, and comes up with different excuses from one time to the other”.
The CS- SUNN Chairman Steering Committee, Dr David Olayemi disclosed that there is need to improve the Exclusive Breastfeeding rate in the country.
He added that the World Health Organization expects that by the year 2025, Nigeria will achieve 60 percent rate of Exclusive Breastfeeding.
“Nigeria’s current percentage is 27 percent, while Ghana is presently at 64 percent. There is need for all Stakeholders to ensure that the percentage is moving high. We need to change the narrative fast, as we have few years to get to the deadline”.
Dr Olayemi also urged all Nigerians to change their orientation about Breastfeeding, as it has both economic and social value.
“If there is improvement in the Nutrition sector, am of the opinion that every other sector will improve greatly, without any interference. Both the formal and informal sector should encourage its members to practise Exclusive Breastfeeding.”
In the same vein, he advised mothers to give breast milk to babies, due to the fact that it is not expensive, and also very hygienic.
The Executive Secretary of CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka hinted that natural breastmilk contains all the natural vitamins, minerals, proteins and Carbohydrate that the baby needs to survive the first few days of delivery.
According to her, several research indicates that children who are breast fed hardly fall sick, and the intelligent quotient is also very high.
“Breast milk is packed with disease fighting substances called antibodies that helps to protect infants from common childhood illness such as pneumonia and diarrhoea. Colostrum, the first yellowish substance that proceeds from the breast after delivery is healthy for baby”.
While adding that some mothers stop giving their babies milk due to inadequate support from spouse and family.
“It actually increase the bonding between mother and child. Infant formula does not contain antibodies found in breast milk, and it is very costly.” She added.