Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria, Launches Breastfeeding Advocacy

The Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with its nutrition and health sector partners is set to celebrate the 2017 World Breastfeeding week as the 25th Anniversary with the theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together to draw the attention of advocates, activists, decision–makers, media and young people for long-term partnership to protect, promote and support Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6months of Life without water.

Activities planned across the Federation to commemorate the week include the HMH’s Flag off with Ministerial Press Briefing, Panel discussion on the Abuja Breastfeeding Declaration, Country Breastfeeding Scorecard and Cost of Not Breastfeeding, and 20th Anniversary of Baby Friendly Hospital of the States House Clinic, Round table Discussion around maternity protection policy, myths and Misconceptions of Early Initiation and Exclusive breastfeeding practices among different cadres of public and private sectors.

The hallmark of the week long celebration is the launch of the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (BAI), which is to domesticate the 27th July, 2017 Global Press Call, that announced the establishment of the BAI and brief journalists on the new research findings for increased investment in breastfeeding. Her Excellency participated with the UNICEF, World Bank, Breastfeeding Country scorecard Activist and Indonesian Health Minster at this “virtual press conference” to call for more political commitment and financial investment to Breastfeeding programming.

This platform will also launch National Social & Behaviour Change Communication Strategy for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition, to reinforce the importance of enhanced self-esteem and self-efficacy in the community perceptions, engagement, empowerment to adhere to basic human rights for maternal, infant and young child nutrition, in line with the Ministry’s National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN).

The Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with its nutrition partners and experts in 2017 WBW Planning Committee worked to develop the week long activities. The overall goal is to protect, promote and support breastfeeding by investing in breastfeeding programmes and supporting women to breastfeed.

“Sustaining Breastfeeding messages anywhere, anytime and anyhow will innovatively protect, promote and support the mothers/ caregivers to optimal practices which will be markedly improve maternal, newborn and child nutrition and health indices in Nigeria” said Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director, Department of Family Health in the Ministry. This is vital for promoting optimal infant and young child feeding practices that combat malnutrition and other related conditions that lead to increasing rate of maternal, infant and young child morbidity and mortality.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole will flag the week long celebration and launch the programme on behalf of the Federal Government in the presence of the National Nutrition Ambassador Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari and stakeholders from within and outside the country at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja Hotel on the 1st August, 2017.

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