Poor breastfeeding responsible for high rate of stunt in Jigawa children

Low level of compliance to the exclusive breastfeeding habit has been identified as one of the causes of acute malnutrition among children in Jigawa state.

The UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Philomena Irene, disclosed this at a two-day Media Dialogue on Breastfeeding organised by the Jigawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency in collaboration with UNICEF Nigeria-Bauchi Field Office as part of activities to commemorate the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week.

Mrs Irene pointed out that in Jigawa state, only 15.5 % are practising exclusive breastfeeding with 12.8% only adopting early initiation and 27.1% practising appropriate complimentary.

She, however, said that lack of awareness is the main cause of non-compliance to exclusive breastfeeding which is free, effective and sustainable.

The nutrition specialist emphasized that babies who are breastfed are 14 times less likely to die than those who are not adequately breastfed.

She, therefore, said there is a need for community mobilization to ensure that mothers exclusively breastfeed their new-born babies and initiate breastfeeding within one hour of delivery to help push out the placenta, prevent bleeding and protect the baby.

While making his presentation, the state nutrition officer, Saidu Umar, said that 70,556 of children under the age of five are in danger of becoming severely malnourished in the state and are bound to lose their lives if the necessary action is lacking.

He, however, explained that a lot of progress is being made every year by the Jigawa state government in order to curtail the menace which is deadlier than HIV/ AIDS.

Mr Umar said the level of admission of malnourished children decreased drastically from 74,630 in 2016 to 62,953 in 2017.

He noted that the issue of malnutrition requires collective efforts from government, civil societies, communities and media to achieve the desired objectives.