By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – To further strengthen exclusive breastfeeding practice in Kaduna state, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has revealed that it will be launching a “Zero Water Campaign” for babies below 6months of age.
Nutrition Specialist UNICEF Kaduna Field Office disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in her office, as part of activities to mark the 2019 ‘World Breastfeeding Week’.
According to her, the launch is aimed at generating more commitments at all levels in reducing the inherent practice of 47 per cent inclusion of water to breastfed infants of less than 6 months towards proactive exclusive breastfeeding practice.
She explained that the Kaduna campaign will take place immediately after the wife of the President, First Lady Aisha Buhari launched the campaign at the national level.
“This week, we are launching national and states “Zero Water Campaign”, at the national level, it will be launched by the First Lady Aisha Buhari. After the national launch, the wife of the Kaduna state Governor will also launch the zero campaign in the state.” Chinwe added.
The Nutrition Specialist, said UNICEF would also use the platform to advocate for family friendly policies such as; strengthen policy provisions that support maternity leave for 6 months in public sector.
“Provision of creches, paid paternity leave to ensure full participation of both parents as well as an enabling environment for breastfeeding in the informal sector to encourage more working mothers to breastfeed their babies.
“What we are promoting this week is for everybody to realize the importance of breastfeeding, that woman alone is not the only person to act, every person in the family, every person in the community, even our work places, the policy makers.
“Kaduna State Government is in the forefront of supporting, promoting and protecting breastfeeding, hence, the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, have adopted the implementation of the 6 months maternity leave, this is inline with the 6 months exclusive breastfeeding we are promoting.
“He has realized that one challenge of achieving exclusive breastfeeding is that of a mother who may leave the home after 3 months to resume duty and so he has approved and adopted the 6 months maternity leave to enable women practice, protect, promote and support breastfeeding especially the very first 6 months.” She said.
The 2019 World Breastfeeding Week, which started Thursday, August 1, with the theme: “Empower Parents, Enable breastfeeding – Now and the future” will end on Wednesday 7.