By Khadija Aliyu
Kano State Government says it would continue to advocate for exclusive breastfeeding in order to reduce the rate of malnutrition amongst infants in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Aminu Tsayawa, made the pledge at a forum to commemorate the World Breastfeeding Week organised by the ministry.
Represented by the Director, Public Health and Disease Control of the Ministry, Dr Ashiru Rajab, Tsanyawa cautioned women on the use of artificial foods at early child birth.
According to him, exclusive breastfeeding shapes the mental and physical well-being of a child and provides mother and child closeness.
Dr. Tsanyawa noted that breast milk has a composition of all the needed nutrients to provide the child with full potentials to grow healthy.
The commissioner said that in 2020 alone, the state government had expended N50 million to purchase Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF), which was given to just 3,000 malnourished children in the state.
He explained that had the malnourished children been adequately fed with exclusive breastfeeding, the amount expended could have served a different purpose.
Tsanyawa, appealed to all stakeholders to educate and enlighten women on the importance of breastfeeding for economic, physical and mental benefits.
In his remarks, Issakha Diop, Nutrition Specialist for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kano Field Office, stressed the health impact of breastfeeding for the mother.
According to him, maternal health benefits of breastfeeding include decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, postpartum depression and hypertension.
“Other benefits include decreased cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women,’’ he said.
In addition, Diop highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding for the infant which included decreased risk of atopic dermatitis and gastroenteritis and higher intelligent IQ in the future.
The specialist, however, said breastfeeding played an important role in managing double burden of malnutrition and provide food security, thus reducing inequality, poverty and diseases in general.
He advised the government and all stakeholders to step up and reduce malnutrition amongst infants and ensure promotion of breastfeeding.
Radio Nigeria reports that, World Breastfeeding Week is a global event commemorated on August 1-7th of every year to promote breastfeeding.