Breastfeeding: Key To Nigeria's Development

By Yetunde Verissimo

As part of the 2016 World breastfeeding week, the Civil Society Coalition for Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) held a One Day High Level Nutrition Sakeholders meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.

At the meeting the wife of the Senate President and President Wellbeing Foundation, Africa, Toyin Bukola Saraki, chairperson of the meeting said, according to surveys Nigeria has the lowest breastfeeding rates at 17%, and yet suffers from plunging levels of malnutrition, stunting and under weight children and all these leads to an under developed nation.

"Development essentially thrives on the advancement of women and children, there is an urgent imperative to invest in exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria in order to yield healthier population that would sustain the country economically "

"Expedited action is urgently needed and so is a more prominent role for nutrition across all government based and non-government based work streams"

"Prioritizing investments in exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria is equal to investing in the future of our great country."

She said that Nigerians should seek the expansion of the Work Place Hazard Act to not just to pregnant women But also to new mothers in The work place.

Ngozi Nnam, chairman CS-SUNN in her welcome address said that the importance of breastfeeding can not be over emphasized. And that the success of the future depends on the care of infants, children, Adolescent and mothers.

She also said that a lot of mothers who ought to breastfeed are not and may not be fully aware of the importance, benefits and skills of breastfeeding.

"Mothers should prepare for both the pregnancy and exclusive breastfeeding on the baby for the first six months of life, and alternate with meals after six months till the baby is two years old and if possible beyond."

Nnam, said that the benefits of doing this would be of much impact for both mother and child. One of which is the reduces risk of ovarian and breast cancer suffered in women.

Other partners present at the meeting were, UNICEF, NAFDAC, Nutrition society of Nigeria, Budget and Planning office of the Federation, FHI360, National Primary Health Development Agency, Save the Children, Alive &Trive, Spring and the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.