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Published On: Tue, Aug 4th, 2020

Group calls for improved investment to promote breastfeeding

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From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called for improved investments at all levels
of governance to promote breastfeeding in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the group Beatrice Eluaka stated this in a statement to mark the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week and made available to media in kaduna yesterday.
The statement added that the theme for this year’s WBW, “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet” draws attention to the fact that breastmilk, is a natural renewable food that is environmentally safe for infants because it is produced and delivered to infants without pollution, packaging and waste.
“According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action WABA; Breastfeeding is a prime example of the deep connections between human health and natures eco system.
“ WABA also reinstates that protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding addresses inequalities that stand in the way of sustainable development.
“The Alliance further notes that artificial feeding leaves a major environmental footprint that contributes to the depletion of natural resources, environment degradation and green-house emissions that cause global warming and climate change.
Nigeria’s Exclusive breastfeeding rate had remained abysmally low with only a marginal increase from 2% in 1990 to 17% in 2013 (NNHS). It then jumped to 29% as reported in the 2018 NDHS.
Although some minimal progress has been made in this regard, CS-SUNN questions what impact this 26-year long custom, (the WBW celebration) has had on breastfeeding in Nigeria.
“ The alliance is further concerned about how Nigeria will meet the global targets of 50% Exclusive Breastfeeding rate by 2025.
“With the country’s current childhood under-nutrition indicator put at 37% stunting, 7% wasting and 23% underweight (NDHS, 2018) and about 2.6 million children under the age of five threatened by malnutrition (2018 NNHS), a lot still needs to be done to eradicate the country’s challenge of malnutrition”the statement reads.
The Executive Secretary stressed the need for Nigerians to become better informed about the links between breastfeeding and the environment/climate change.
She further explained that Breastfeeding to be anchored as a climate-smart decision.

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