By Sule ALIYU, Bauchi
Efforts to tackle acute malnutrition in children in Bauchi State has received a boost with the establishment of six additional Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAN) sites by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Community Management of Acute Malnutrition was initiated in three Local Government Areas of the state namely Dambam, Kirfi and Katagum. The new six CMAN Local Governments are Bauchi, Darazo, Itas/Gadu, Warji, Gamawa and Tafawa Balewa.
UNICEF Bauchi Chief of Field Office, Dr. Abdulai Kai-Kai Wednesday during the flag off of CMAN site to commemorate this year breast feeding week organized by UNICEF in collaboration with Bauchi state Government and Bauchi state chapter of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).
He said that 11 million children under five are malnourished in Nigeria, as the level of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria is only 17 percent, meaning that at least 5.4 million children miss out on its benefits, contributing to the country problem of chronic child malnutrition.
Kaikai who was represented by by UNICEF Nutrition Specialist in Bauchi, Mr. Philomena Irena, commended the Bauchi state government for their support in tackling acute malnutrition in the state.
On exclusive breastfeeding, Kaikai explained delaying breastfeeding by 2-23 hours after birth increases risk of dying in the first 28 days of a baby’s life by 40 per cent.
“Knowledge about importance of exclusive breastfeeding is low in Nigeria. In parts of the country, only about 25% of mothers know that new born babies should be given only breast milk in the first six months of life. Many think incorrectly that babies should be given breast milk alone for only 2-4 months”, says Kaikai.
The Executive Chairman of Bauchi State Primary Health Care Agency (PHCDA), Pharmacist Adamu Gamawa has in a remark disclosed that nine additional CMAN centers will be established in the state by 2018.
Pharmacist Gamawa stressed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for children less than six months, and called on mothers to ensure that their children are well breastfed.
Gamawa re-iterated the commitment of the Bauchi State Government in ensuring quaking health care service for mothers and children
Highlight of the occasion is donation of gifts to mothers doing exclusive breastfeeding, as well as up to date on immune immunization for their children.