By Aliyu Dangida
Jigawa state government through Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) have organised a sensitization forum to educate religious clerics on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding by nursing mothers.
The sensitization was held in Dutse as part of commemoration day for the celebration of ‘world breast feeding month’ at the state ministry of health with a theme “Breastfeeding Foundation For Life”.
The Executive Secretary of the primary healthcare development agency, Dr. Kabir Ibrahim declared that, “only about 2% of women in the state practice exclusive breastfeeding to their infants of ages from 0 to 6 months” .
The executive secretary of the agency noted further that traditional, cultural and superstitious practices among the rural women still militates against active participation in exclusive breastfeeding in Jigawa state.
Dr. Kabir stated that the consequence of abuse in exclusive breastfeeding of infants up to six months may affect the child’s intelligence and ability to learn among his peers in future.
He said the clerics, who are models should use their status to further educate them on the importance of the practice of exclusive breastfeeding to infants up to six months from birth.
The UNICEF nutrition specialist under Bauchi field office, Philomena Irene said the programme was essentially to educate nursing mothers and their husbands to support the practice of exclusive breastfeeding which she said could eliminate poverty and opputunistic diseases amongst the populace.
The chairman council of Ulamas in the state Dr. Zakariya Kandi admonished parents to allow their children the opportunity of feeding through breast milk extensively as contained in the Qur’an.
Dr. Zakariya said it was in the best interest of the parent to listen to medical experts on the importance attach to the campaign for the collective benefit of all.
Also speaking at the occasion, the state chairman of the Christian Associationof Nigeria (CAN) Mr. Damina Ibrahim said, “gone are the days when we subject our children to old practices against exclusive breastfeeding as we are today witnessing a degree of improvement on our grandchildren that were exclusively breastfed”, he said.