Osun Primary Healthcare Development Board rallies stakeholders on Infant and Young Child Feeding

By Maryam Olaniyi, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo

The Osun State Primary Healthcare Development Board has urged stakeholders in the state to come together and synergize in dealing with child malnutrition by aiding actions that would ensure proper Infant and Young Child Feeding in the state.

This was the thrust of a meeting on Infant and Young Child Feeding organised by the board with support of Alive and Thrive (FHI 360). The meeting dwelled more on the need for exclusive breastfeeding as solution to malnutrition.

The meeting was attended by line ministries and agencies, and other key stakeholders in the state including the representatives of National Orientation Agency (NOA), League of Imams and Alfas as well as the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN).

The Executive Secretary of the the Board, Dr. Oluwole Fabiyi while speaking at the meeting appealed the people of the state particularly the nursing mothers to promote the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, so that their children would be alive, healthy and able to lead their full potentials in life.

The Zonal Coordinator of Alive and Thrive, Mrs Stephanie Dada in her presentation noted 45 percent of preventable deaths of children under age 5 are due to malnutrition and that exclusive breastfeeding is the cheapest and easiest way-out

Dada said there is need to ensure breastfeeding-friendly workplace in the public and private sector and that there should be crèches, breastfeeding/lactation room, flexible working hour and breastfeeding break for nursing mothers.

The Public Health and Nutrition Programs Manager at the Board, Mr. Izuchukwu Michael Offiaeli said multi-sectoral intervention would assist in improving the state of maternal and child nutrition in the state.

The Director of Nutrition at the Osun State Primary Healthcare Development Board, Mr. Mayowa Olaniyi disclosed that 56 out of 1,000 newly born children in the state die within 28 days of birth and that about 78 children out of 1,000 die before they are 12-month-old.

According to him, "Only 23 children, out of 100 in the State are put to breast within 1 hour of delivery. 16 babies out of 100 are given other fluids and or solids before the start of breastfeeding. Only 55 out of 100 babies are exclusively breastfed, with underlying implications. Therefore, 101 out of 1,000 children die in Osun before they are 5 years old." Olaniyi said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) authenticates the data which emanates from Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).