Kaduna State government has emphasized the need for all stakeholders to support mothers in exclusively breastfeeding their babies for the benefit of families and the nation at large.

Deputy governor of the State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe stated this at a news briefing to commemorate 2021 World Breastfeeding week held at government house Kaduna.

Dr Hadiza Balarabe explained that exclusive breastfeeding provides a stronger immunity to babies thereby reducing the risk of diseases and infection as well as improved cognitive function. .

Dr Balarabe revealed that early Initiation of Breastfeeding within one hour of birth in Kaduna State was 35.9%, while exclusive breastfeeding for the 1st six months is 27.2%.

“This event is of critical importance, given the nutrition challenges the state is addressing, especially among young children. Early Initiation of Breastfeeding within ONE hour of birth in Kaduna State is 35.9%, while that of Exclusive Breastfeeding (i.e feeding a child with only breastmilk, no water or drinks for the 1st six months) is 27.2% (NDHS 2018 & MICS 2018 surveys respectively”.

According to her, there was need to scale up efforts in promoting early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding of infants 0-6 months old, and introduction of appropriate complimentary feeding practices through social and behavioral change communication strategies.

“These efforts will no doubt enable us all to protect, promote and support these high impact, low-cost, and highly effective Breastfeeding and other Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) practices for our vulnerable groups”

The Deputy Governor said with the support of UNICEF, the state government had established nutrition corners across the twenty three local government areas to provide nutrition counseling and practical demonstrations on how to adequately prepare food and feed infants aged 6-59 months.

Dr Hadiza Balarabe stated that, the state government has also provided a conducive environment for mothers to adequately breastfeed their babies by implementing the state policy on food and Nutrition and ensure compliance with the 6 months paid maternity leave.

She thanked all the development partners, the media, and MDAs that have collectively contributed towards the successful conduct of the week.

Aminu Dalhatu