By Abdullahi M. Gulloma Abuja
Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has called on employers in the country to create an enabling environment for breastfeeding mothers by providing day-care centres, breastfeeding rooms in work places and flexible working hours in order to encourage exclusive breastfeeding among working mothers. She made call yesterday during the 2007 World Breastfeeding Week celebration in Abuja. Represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Dr Hajo Sani, Mrs. Buhari said creating enabling environment for the breastfeeding mothers would encourage them to breastfeed for longer than they currently do.
She also called on government at all levels to prioritise breastfeeding and invest in programmes and policies that foster the environment for sustainable protection, promotion and support for breastfeeding women. She also stressed the need for media practitioners to increase awareness and support for breastfeeding in their various platforms. In his keynote address, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said breastfeeding is the most effective strategy to combat malnutrition and other related conditions that contribute to infant and young child morbidity and mortality.
He said “even though Nigeria is seen as a breastfeeding nation with a 97 per cent compliance rate, the country is lagging behind in the area of exclusive breastfeeding which has recorded only a marginal increase in the last 15 years.” The minister commended the wife of the president for her commitment to the cause of breastfeeding and support for the Federal Ministry of Health to achieve the health sector goal in the national socio-economic development agenda through her pet project, the Future Assured Programme. Highlights of the event include the unveiling of the BAI logo and the presentation of the National Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) Strategy