STAKEHOLDERS in the health sector have scaled up awareness creation activities to encourage breastfeeding and improve infant nutritional uptake in Bauchi State.
Chidi Asimobi, the State Team Lead, Alive & Thrive Nigeria (A&T), a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), stated this while speaking on the sideline of Nutrition Community Engagement Forum on Friday, in Bauchi.
The forum was part of activities lined up to mark the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week themed: “Step Up for Breastfeeding,” organised by the project in collaboration with partners.
According to Asimobi, the forum provides opportunity for stakeholders to brainstorm towards stepping up breastfeeding to prevent disease, enhance child and maternal health at the grassroots.
He said the organisation was working in collaboration with Bauchi government and seven other development partners including UNICEF, fhi360, World Health organisation (WHO), among others towards accelerating the scale of Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition in the state.
“Optimum nutrition, which includes exclusive breastfeeding, is essential action that needs to be taken for infant development and survival,” he said.
Asimobi also advocated increased funding to health sector and adoption of six-month maternity leave to enhance infant survival.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that A&T project is being implemented in Bauchi State with support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The project focused on maternal nutrition to save lives, prevent illness, and improve the health and wellbeing of mothers, children and adolescents.
Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Agency, disclosed that the agency had so far sensitised 25 communities identified with low nutrition uptake in the state.
He said the agency had embarked on advocacy through radio programmes and extended its outreach to communities to encourage breastfeeding at first six months of birth.
According to him, the agency in collaboration with partners is working to promote advance nutrition to improve infant and maternal health in the state.
He announced plans to upgrade 320 nutrition corners in health facilities across the 20 local government areas of the state.
The centres, he said, would create awareness on Good Winning Practices (GWP) and train breastfeeding mothers on nutritional food processing through utilisation of local variety crops.
He advised mothers to seek for medical advice on how to breastfeed their infants.
For his part, Malam Kabiru Yakubu, Ward Head, Kangarke Ward in Bauchi, pledged community leaders support to create awareness on breastfeeding.
He urged husbands to allow their wives to attend antenatal and practice exclusive breastfeeding to curb infant mortality rate in the state.
Also commenting, Mrs Hadiza Ibrahim, a nursing mother, said she embraced exclusive breastfeeding which enable them to enjoy good health condition.
“I have twins, I am practicing exclusive breastfeeding and they are fine,” she said. (NAN)