The wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari has launched the National Zero Water Campaign on Breastfeeding towards reducing stunting and severe acute malnutrition in the country
Aishat Buhari, represented by Dr. Mairo Al-Makura, the wife of former Nasarawa State governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, said the campaign would go a long way in improving the nutritional indices in Nigeria.
She said the campaign was aimed at changing the narratives of nutrition in Nigeria and pushes the exclusive breastfeeding rate to above 50 percent which was the global target.
She lamented that Nigeria has the second-highest burden of stunted children with a national prevalence rate of 32 percent among children under five.
She added that an estimated two and a half million of our children suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), but only two out of 10 children affected are currently reached with treatment.
Buhari said there were lots of benefits of breastfeeding for the mother, child, family, community and indeed for our nation.
According to her, breastfeeding specifically contributes to the health and well-being of mother and child.
“It helps in child spacing and it is also known to contribute to reducing the risk of ovarian and breast cancers. While it is a secure way of feeding, it is safe for the environment.
“Apart from the fact that it reduces infant mortality due to childhood diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia, it also creates a bond between the mother and child,’’ she said.
The first lady affirmed her commitment to align with all relevant stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of the Zero Water Campaign through her Future Assured Programme.
In a relative vein, the Director, Department of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Adebiyi Adebimpe, said breastfeeding was known to be the most single cost-effective high impact method of feeding infants and young children.
She added that breast milk provides adequate nutrients from the first day of birth up to two years.
However, the director lamented that the exclusive breastfeeding rate in Nigeria remains one of the lowest in the world.
According to her, the 2018 National Nutrition Health Survey (NNHS), shows that only about one in three of our children are exclusively breastfed.
“The National Zero Water Campaign to address the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the country,’’ she said.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi, said the ministry in collaboration with partners has developed the campaign.
Mashi, represented by the Director, Health Research and Statistics, said the campaign would run for two years and it would draw the attention of the community to the importance of early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding.