By Mary Jalingo
The Acting governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, has called on women to ensure that they exclusively breastfed their babies especially in the first 6 months of life.
The acting governor made the call during a walk organized by the State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Nigeria State chapter to mark the 2017 World Breastfeeding Day in Minna yesterday.
He said for infants to survive and develop well, they need to be exclusively breastfed, adding that breast milk was rich in nutrients and anti-bodies which are major pre-requisites for a healthy growth.
Ahmed Ketso stated that when a child is exclusively breastfed, their immune system are strengthened against childhood killer diseases. He said he was happy to be part of the walk to sensitize the public on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and called on men to support their wives in ensuring that mothers breastfeed their babies well which he noted would reduce the high rate of stunting in our society.
Also speaking, the Executives Director of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), Dr Yahaya Nau’zo, said in Africa tradition, breastfeeding was very important but noted that with the availability of more processed food in the market, parents tend to forget the role breast milk plays in a child’s life.
Dr Nau’zo said breast milk was so important and vital that it does not only bond a child and its mother but also builds a child immunity through the anti-bodies presence in breast milk.
He said the issue of breastfeeding is not a mother’s thing alone as husband and other members of the family need to support the woman to be able to breastfeed well.
The State Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Amina Isa, commended the state government for its interest in an improved nutritional status of citizens through an improved allocation to the health sector in the 2017 budget of the State.
Hajiya Amina urged the government to ensure timely release of allocated funds to support nutrition activities.
She added that the state being an agricultural heaven was blessed with all sorts of nutritious food which are not expensive that mother can eat to breastfeed well, noting that the lack of knowledge was a big problem.