By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Mrs. Ummi El-Rufai, has been honoured with the Breastfeeding Hero award on Thursday, by a Non-Governmental Organization, Alive & Thrive, for her role as an advocate in exclusive breastfeeding.
Mrs. El-Rufai, who was honoured along three others in the event tagged: “Kaduna Breastfeeding Hero Awards”, was recognized for her contributions and leadership to improving growth and development of children in Kaduna state.
The event which was organized by Alive and Thrive in collaboration with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, (NSN), also Amina Abubakar, a mother of triplets; two boys and a girl namely; Abdulkadir, Sanusi and Fatima. The triplets despite being prematurely delivered at six months are now amazingly healthy; due to sacrifice of the mother to exclusively breastfeed them, hence, she was honored in recognition of her extraordinary dedication and commitment towards achieving exclusive breastfeeding of the triplets.
The father of the triplets, Dr. Ibraheem Baba, was not left out as he was also honoured for his extraordinary support and dedication in achieving exclusive breastfeeding feat.
The third recipient, Ramatu Ajiyana, an experienced health worker trained on Infant and Young Child Feeding, (IYCF), through her knowledge of the benefits of EBF, was able to support Amina and her babies during the initial challenges and continued with home visits to ensure the triplets were growing well, bagged the Breastfeeding Hero awar for her extraordinary contributions and dedication to improving growth and development of children through optimal IYCF practices in the state.
Speaking on behalf of other recipients, Ummi, thanked Alive & Thrive for its presence and support to Kaduna state and for nominating the four of them as Breastfeeding Heroes; pointing out that exclusive breastfeeding is the easiest and most cost-effective way to save the lives of children in the first 1000 days of life.
She also appreciated the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, (NSN) for the honour, and called all and sundry to work together, nurture and support one another and help Kaduna children remain alive and thrive.
“I am pleased, honored and humbled to accept this award and to join Ramatu Ajiyana who set the example of a committed health worker, and Amina Sani Abubakar a dedicated loving mother who breastfed a set of triplets exclusively and Ibraheem Baba for being a role model husband and father in supporting the wife to breastfeed exclusively.”
Ummi, who dedicated her award to all men and women committed to raising the bar in improving child growth and development through optimal IYCF practices, also called on all icons of IYCF to ride on with the awardees in all efforts to ensure a platform is created for others to follow.
“I plead with all of us to use whatever opportunity we have, to impact the lives of our children for the future,” she urged.
It would be recalled that on January 2017, the Kaduna State Government officially inaugurated the Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, (KADENAP) following the disturbing statistics of thousands of cases of children with Severe Acute Malnutrition and Moderate Acute Malnutrition, which Mrs. Ummi El-Rufai spearheaded the establishment of KADENAP.
Through her passion and advocacy effort, she influenced the State Government, and UNICEF to urgently provide resources and Ready-To-Use-Therapeutic-Food for the treatment to severely malnourished under-five children in the state.
Mrs. El-Rufai, also played a significant role in the revitalization of several Severe Acute Malnutrition treatment sites in Government hospitals, Reference and Tertiary Hospitals and the activation of CMAM sites for the treatment of Severely Acute Malnutrition in Secondary Health Care Facilities.