By Chioma Obinna , Nkiruka Nnorom and Gabriel Olawale
Nutrition experts have identified exclusive breastfeeding as one of the tools to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – 3, SDGs, aimed at ensuring healthy lives and promote wellbeing for consumers of all ages and ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age by 2030″.
According to the President-elect of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, NSN, Dr. Barthlomew Brai, who spoke at the ‘2016 Nestle CSV Nutrition Media Workshop with the theme’ “Good Nutrition A Way of Life”, explained that breastfeeding is clearly relevant to SDG 3 because breast feeding extends well beyond basic nutrition.
In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients the baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect the baby from illness.
“Breastfeeding is clearly relevant to SDG 3, which includes not only maternal, and child health but also Non Communicable Diseases such as breast cancer, diabetes, obesity among others. It is also relevant to the second goal (on nutrition).”
“The effect of breastfeeding on intelligence and human capital is relevant to SDG 4 (education) the first goal (poverty) and the eighth goal (inclusive economic growth). By helping to close the gap among the poor, breastfeeding can contribute to goal number ten (reducing inequalities). This shows how essential the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is for the achievement of many of the newly launched SDGs by 2030.”
Brai added that appropriate complementary feeding between six and 23 months remains a proven intervention to significantly reduce stunting during the first two years of life.
“Undernutrition during critical periods in development can lead to adverse health outcomes later in life. Imbalanced maternal and childhood nutrition are linked to NCDs. The life-cycle approach is an appropriate tool for the monitoring and prevention of NCDs.”
In her opening remarks, Head, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, Central and West Africa Region of Nestle, Mrs. Peggy Diby said the workshop was a clear demonstration of Nestle commitment to the promotion and protection of breastfeeding and nutrition.
She told the participants that with Nestle’s pedigree in nutrition, spanning over 140 years, infant nutrition is now a stand-alone business unit with a crop of dedicated staff. She noted that in the infant nutrition business, the company’s adherence to the WHO Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is non-negotiable.
She, however, distanced the company from any involvement in genetically modified foods as all their raw materials were locally sourced.
On her part, Manager, Nestle Nutrition Institute, Africa, Anglophone, CWAR, Chioma Emma-Nwachukwu said; “Nestlé is committed to contribute to consumers’ nutrition, health and wellness such as cooking classes for kids, nutrition education programmes for women and offering of tastier and healthier products which are fortified with micronutrients.
She said that Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme has reached over 62,000 pupils in 112 schools across four Nigerian states adding that through the Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa, Health Care professionals have been empowered with nutrition information through various nutrition programmes organized by the institute.