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2.5 million Nigerian children suffer malnutrition-- Aisha Buhari

FG, Stakeholders Launch Zero Water Campaign

6 August 2019 Uncategorized


The first lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari says about 2.5 million Nigerians children suffers from severe malnutrition due to poor breastfeeding culture.

Mrs Buhari stated this in Abuja, at the formal launch of the Zero Water Campaign to commemorate World Breastfeeding week.

“I have no doubt that everybody is aware of the importance of breastfeeding and it is really worrisome that children do not benefit so much from it. Breastfeeding is the right of every newborn and the government of Nigeria recommends that initiation of breastfeeding should begin immediately after childbirth.

Mrs Aisha Buhari, represented by the wife of former Nassarawa State Governor, Mrs Mairo Almakura explained that about two point five million Nigerian children suffers from acute malnutrition, while only two in every ten children access treatment.

The program, titled Empower parents, Enable breastfeeding now and for the Future was aimed at ensuring that infants get adequate nutrients through breast milk from zero to the first two years of age.

Enumerating the benefits of exclusive breast feeding to include; birth spacing, child brain development, total infantdwell being among others, expressed worry that most children were deprived this benefit due to water formula.

In their separate remarks the Director General of Governor’s Forum, Dr Ashishana Okairo and the country representative of UNICEF, Mrs Permille Ironside, affirmed that Zero water breastfeeding for the first six months of the child birth reduces infant diseases, matanal and child morternity , Type II diabetes, as well as prevention of ovarian cancer.

They also advised Governor’s at all levels to domesticate six months maternity and paternity leave to enable parents provide adequate care for child development.

The Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chris Isikpunwu said the breast milk contain eighty-eight percent of water, noting that the child do not need any other water or food from the time of birth to six months as this would immuned the baby from infections.

Dr Isikpunwu explained that the zero water campaign was launched to promote the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and promised the ministry’s readiness to extend the sensitization to every nooks and crannies of Nigeria to achieve expected result.

Research shows that one of the major challenges of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria is that children are given water before they are six months old.

The children who are exclusively breastfed are less likely to fall ill, thereby reducing the burden in the health system and cost of hospitalization on the family.”

“Globally, more than 800,000 children die annually because they are not properly breastfed.

In Nigeria, non-breastfeeding comes with a huge cost and we cannot continue to lose our children when we can prevent such deaths using a simple cost-effective method of mothers exclusively breastfeeding their children in the first six months of life”

The campaign is aimed at generating more commitments at all levels in reducing the inherent practice of 47 per cent inclusion of water to breastfed infants of less than 6 months towards proactive exclusive breastfeeding practice.

The launch is also to advocate for family friendly policies such as; strengthen policy provisions that support maternity leave for 6 months in public sector.

The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1 to 7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.

GEORGINA HUMPHREY/ABUJA


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