Breastfeeding week: NGO engages stakeholders on enabling breast feeding for working mothers
By Hussaina Yakubu
August 04, 2023
Alive and Thrive (A&T), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), is collaborating with the Kaduna state primary health care board and key stakeholders on enabling breastfeeding for working mothers in commemoration of 2023 world breast feeding week.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the 2023 breastfeeding week is with the theme “Let’s make breastfeeding and work, work!”
In her presentation at the event, Sarah Kwasu, Alive and Thrive zonal Coordinator, Kaduna, said there is the need to promote and support breastfeeding mothers.
She called on governments at all levels, public and private sectors, workplaces and community gatekeepers to scale-up breastfeeding promotion and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments for lactating mothers and their babies.
Kwasu said they are also advocating for the establishment of creches across official environments and other workplaces, and are pushing for the legislation of 6 months paid maternity leave.
“We will continue to partner with governments and other stakeholders to expand and strategically scale up primary health care facilities which will enhance breastfeeding.
According to her, breastfeeding is one of the best investments in children’s and women’s health and survival.
Workplace limitations remain the commonest reason for women to never breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding earlier than recommended by the WHO, she warned.
In her remarks, Dr Aishatu Abubakar Sadiq, Director of Public health, Kaduna state, said the celebrations to mark the practice highlights the effectiveness of breastfeeding to humans.
She said breastfeeding provides nutrition, protection through enhancing immunity, contributes to early child development, psychosocial development, good mental health for mothers and in these trying times financial reprieve from the cost of breast milk substitutes.
She also said that the state Commissioner for Health, Hajiya Umma Kaltume Ahmed, has directed that the creche in the ministry of health be renovated and commissioned immediately.
Ahmed added that an audit exercise should be instituted to verify compliance with 6 months paid maternity leave and availability of creches and safe spaces for breastfeeding in all government offices within the State .
Speaking also, Rahila Maishanu,
Breastmilk Substitute Desk officer, NAFDAC, said there should be Breastmilk substitute code compliance and data to strengthen implementation.
She also disclosed that the importance of optimal Infant and Young Child feeding (IYCF) practices towards the development, growth, health and survival of infants and young children cannot be over-emphasized.
She said it can be sustained by continuous protection and promotion of Breastfeeding through adequate implementation and enforcement of the Code of marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
She warned that mixing breastfeeding with other foods and fluids in the first six months of a child’s life, causes infant and childhood morbidity and mortality, and lessens the health benefits for children.
In her presentation, Jessica Bartholomew, the State Coordinator, civil society scaling up nutrition in Nigeria (CS.SUNN), said to hold government accountable for improved nutrition remains a challenge in some African countries.
She explains that CS.SUNN will provide high level technical support in nutrition advocacy for sustained breastfeeding.