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First Lady tasks stakeholders to engage Govt on breastfeeding policies

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Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on Thursday urged stakeholders to engage government towards formulating policies that would promote breastfeeding as a practice in the country.

Buhari made the call at the commemoration of World Breastfeeding Week with theme, ‘Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support,’ by Staff of State House Clinic in Abuja.

The First Lady, represented by Rukaiyatu Gurin, Senior Special Assistant to the First Lady, said that breastfeeding contained numerous natural nutrients.

“I urge you to consolidate your role as custodians of breastfeeding, to engage government towards making policies that protect and promote breastfeeding as a practice.

“Breastfeeding provides babies with natural food that contains all the nutritional values that babies require as a natural remedy that protects the baby from all kinds of diseases,” she said.

She called for stronger collaboration among actors to strengthen the world chain of breast feeding.

“Let us all join our hands to educate, support and encourage our mothers to breastfeed their babies sufficiently for a healthier nation.

“Our fathers and daddies have a very great role to play by providing our mothers with good nutritional foods to feed the baby.”

Buhari, however, affirmed her support for breastfeeding which she said was key to nation building.

“As the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I am also a key actor, I pledge my support to uphold and promote breastfeeding among others.

“It is important to pay emphasis on educating mothers on the advantages of breastfeeding; this process needs to involve all stakeholders, including fathers, family members and the community.”

Mr Tijjani Umar, Permanent Secretary State House, stated the administration’s commitment to the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding.

Umar, represented by Alhaji Bukar Mala, assured of their continued support to nurture the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for both healthy mother and child.

“The State House administration has been committed to the initiative by supporting the staff through training, workshop and other activities of breastfeeding support group.

“Additionally, the administration has made a creche available at the state House Clinic to support staff who are nursing babies to breast feed.”

Presenting a lecture on breastfeeding, Dr Otuneye Adekunle, Head of Department (HOD) Paediatrics, National Hospital, Abuja said that breastfeeding was antidote to maternal morbidity and mortality.

Adekunle also identified intellectual development as one of the greatest benefits of breastfeeding.

“The principal benefit of breastfeeding to a mother and child is that breastfeeding gives the child a better chance of survival.

“It also says that a child that is breastfed has a better chance of cognitive development, meaning that better performance in school, better performance concerning IQ.

“And for the mother, not only does it reduce child mortality, it also reduces maternal mortality and illnesses in the mother.

The Medical Practitioner also dismissed misconceptions about breastfeeding, saying they were not based on facts.

“There are so many misconceptions about breastfeeding and most of them are myths, they are not founded on any real fact.

“For instance, baby does not get water, 90 per cent of breastfeeding is water, breastfeeding is not what makes the breast to sag, with age changes occur.

“A mother that breastfeeds a child will not have a sagging breast because of that.”

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Health

UNICEF emphasises importance of polio vaccination to caregivers

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has encouraged caregivers in Katsina, Kano and Jigawa States to present their eligible children for the next round of polio vaccination exercise.

Mr Michael Banda, the Officer-in-charge of UNICEF Kano Field Office, made the call in Kano at a media dialogue on the polio campaign on Friday.

The media dialogue was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Kano State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, with participants from the above-mentioned states.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four-day polio vaccination exercise is scheduled to commence on April 20, across the three states.

According to the UNICEF Officer-in-charge of the Kano field office, the importance of the exercise cannot be overemphasised.

“As the data show, in Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, we have over 556,750 children who have not received one single dose of vaccination they should have received.

“These are referred to as zero-dose children. Such children inexorably are vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, including poliomyelitis.

“This is unacceptable and must be tackled frontally. Not only is polio vaccination crucial, but all routine vaccinations are also critical to children’s survival.

“We must all work together to strengthen routine immunisation services and ensure that all children under five receive all vaccines, including the polio vaccine,” Banda said.

He added that, if all children got vaccinated and receive the vaccines they needed to receive, they would no longer be at risk of contracting polio, with attendant debilitating consequences.

He said that, rather they would have received the immunity which would protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Banda emphasised that immunisation had been proven to be the most cost-effective protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Let’s all work together, government, development partners, religious and traditional leaders, communities, NGOs, CSOs and the media, to ensure that every Nigerian child under five is vaccinated.

“This will protect them from not just polio, but all other vaccine-preventable diseases,” he appealed.

According to the UNICEF official, managing misinformation and vaccine hesitancy for Polio and overall vaccination is very crucial in Nigeria to stop the outbreak.

He stressed that the role of the media, including social media, was important in this aspect.

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Over 1,800 malnourished kids recovered in six months in Bauchi — CSOs

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Rauf Oyewole, Bauchi

The Coalition of Civil Society –Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Bauchi State Chapter has said that through its partnership with other implementing partners they have assisted over 1,800 malnourished children to recover from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

The Secretary of the Network, Dabis Mwalike while addressing journalists as part of the activities marking the 10th year anniversary of the network, said that it also engaged in preventive measures against malnutrition in the state.

According to her, during the implementation, 698 healthcare providers were trained across the 20 local government areas of Bauchi, 400 community-based volunteers were trained while 4,229 comprising 2,059 males and 2,170 females, children under five identified with SAM and 7,743 made of 3661males and 4082 females, children under five identified with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM).

She added that 1,825 children under five identified with SAM and MAM recovered. While 202 PHCs established food banks.

She said that despite all the achievements, malnutrition remains a concern to public health and a threat to child survival, growth, and development in the country, and Bauchi State according to NNHS (2018) and NDHS (2018) the State stunting rate is 46 percent, wasting is 9.5 percent while underweight is 28.2 percent and overweight is 0.5 percent.

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Health

Capacity training will reduce migration of health workers- NPHCDA

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The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) says it is taking steps towards tackling migration of health workers through capacity training programmes.
Mr Julius Idoko, NPHCDA Coordinator in Cross River, said this at the opening of a five-day capacity training for 100 frontline healthcare workers in the state on Tuesday.
Idoko said that the training, a project of the Health Minister, Prof. Mohammad Pate, was aimed at improving the capacity of health workers and making migration out of the country less attractive.
”The rate at which health workers leave the country has become worrisome, this training is to build their capacities.
”This initiative is one of the steps we are taking to curb the continuous exodus of healthcare professionals from the country.
”If we continue to engage and improve the capacity of our health workers, there will be no reason for them to leave the country,” he said.
The cordinator said that the initiative targets to capture no fewer than 120,000 healthcare workers in public institutions across the country.
Also speaking, Dr Henry Ayuk, Cross River’s Commissioner for Health, described the training as ‘very important’ to the state following its peculiar challenges.
He said the training would strengthen the skills of healthcare workers and enhance their performances.
Ayuk said that the state government would equip no fewer then 450 primary health centres within the next one year to enhance healthcare delivery.
Dr Vivian Otu, Director-General, Cross Rivers Primary Healthcare Development Agency, commended NPHCDA for the initiative, describing it as timely and well-intended
He said thet those who benefited from the exercise would train others to ensure an active and efficient workforce.
The programme attracted participants from WHO, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, President’s Malaria Initiative among others
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