The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has advised mothers in Nasarawa State and Nigeria at large to embrace exclusive breast feeding, in the interest of the health of their new born babies.
Ms Chinwe Ezeife, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field office, gave the advice on Friday when members of the organisation were on assessment tour to one of its service centres in Keffi.
She said that exclusive breast feeding was good for the health of new born babies, hence the need for mothers to feed their children exclusively for six months of life.
“We are encouraging mothers to embrace exclusive breast feeding. One hour after the birth or delivery, mothers should put their babies to breast feeding.
`She should feed the child exclusively for six months of life.
“After that, the mother will introduce other complementary foods because after six months, only breast milk cannot satisfy the nutrient requirement of the child,” she said.
Ezeife also called for collective efforts to address the challenges of malnutrition in the country.
“My call on the parents, especially the mothers and fathers is for them to join hands to ensure that the child is given exclusive breast feeding.
“We know that mothers own the breast, it is also left for the fathers to do their part, to be supportive in terms of providing the necessary needs required by the mother.
“This is necessary so that the child can be breast feed well,” the nutritionist said.
She restated the commitment of the UNICEF to continue to key into good projects and policies that had direct bearing on the nutritional need of the children in order to improve on their standard of living.
Also speaking, Dr Zakari Adam, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, said that the tour was for him to see things, with the view of addressing any challenge, if any.
He expressed happiness with the commitment of health workers and other community volunteers of the centres toward tackling the challenges among malnourished children and urged them to sustain the tempo.
According to him, the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), provided by the UNICEF are given to children free of charge.
While thanking UNICEF, Mr Ibrahim Gambo, the Director, Primary Health Care, Keffi Local Government Area said 146 malnourished children had been treated and cured of malnutrition in the area.
According to him, the achievement is possible because of the support received from UNICEF toward addressing the challenges associated with malnourished children.
He said that the provision of RUTF, provided by the UNICEF and given to children free of charge, had impacted positively on their lives.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Rabiu Musa, the Communication Officer of UNICEF, Kaduna was part of the assessment team.
RUTF is funded by Children International Foundation Fund. (NAN)
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