Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that only two out of 10 children between the ages of zero and six months, which represents 21.3 per cent, are exclusively breastfed in Katsina State.
The UNICEF Nutrition Manager, Kano Field, Elhadji Diop, who disclosed this at a media dialogue on exclusive breastfeeding Wednesday, said eight out of the 10 children are at risk of being malnourished in the state.
The one-day media dialogue was organised by the Katsina State Primary Healthcare Agency in partnership with the UNICEF.
Diop, while quoting the 2022 survey conducted by Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICs), urged the state government, media and critical stakeholders to rekindle their efforts in order to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 50 per cent.
He explained that the report ranked Nigeria as the first in Africa in terms of burden of malnutrition and only second to India in the whole world, describing it as unacceptable for the development of infants.
According to him, “With exclusive breastfeeding, a child is ensured of development and survival and without that a child is at risk of not being developed both mentally and physically.
“According to the 2022 MICs report, only two out of 10 children are exclusively breastfed in Katsina. With only two out 10 having a better chance of development and survival. It means eight out of 10 are at the risk of being malnourished, which is indeed unacceptable.”
While noting that exclusive breastfeeding would boost the health of the child and the mother, the UNICEF nutrition manager called on stakeholders to invest in exclusive breastfeeding “because 1,000 investment will generate approximately 35,000 economic returns”.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the state Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr. Shamsudeen Yahaya, represented by Tukur Bala, admonished practising journalists in the state to support the government’s quest of enhancing exclusive breastfeeding in the state.