FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has revealed that about 48 percent of infants are not optimally exclusively breastfed in the Federal Capital Territory and this has created a margin which could, among others, be the poorest of the poor that requires extra efforts to reach.
The minister, who made this revelation at the commemoration of 2021 World Breastfeeding Week held in Garki, also described as worrisome that almost half of FCT babies are denied the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
Aliyu, also revealed that from January to June 2021, FCT has registered and treated 1,728 cases of acute malnourished under-5 children, just as she noted that suboptimal breastfeeding precipitate malnutrition.
She, however, acknowledged that the administration was making steady progress towards improving infant and young child nutrition in the FCT, noting that the multi-indicators cluster survey report of 2017 shows that the FCT has 52 percent of infants 0 – 6 months old, exclusively breastfed which was the 2nd best breastfeeding rate in Nigeria.
The minister said the theme of this year’s event “Protect Breastfeeding: A shared Responsibility” aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals campaign and it highlights the importance of supporting mothers to breastfeed for as long as they wish and also focuses on how breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of all children.peaking in the same vein, Ag. Secretary FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Mohammed Kawu, identified cultural norms and traditional beliefs as some of the factors that could undermine the progress made so far in the territory.
Kawu, noted that though the ultimate responsibility for ensuring women and children rights to protection and survival lies with the government, but acknowledged that these rights cannot be fulfilled without the involvement of the members of households, communities, development partners and the private sector.
He, therefore, solicits support for collective responsibility for maximum breastfeeding practices by women to ensure adequate protection, survival and development of the FCT women and children.