The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Media Coalition Against child Malnutrition (MeCAM) have declared that exclusive breastfeeding is key to fight against child malnutrition.
They also stressed that exclusively breastfeeding is more resilient in fighting malnutrition, especially in children.
Speaking ahead of the 2016 World Breastfeeding Week, which commenced August 1 through August 7, the organisations agreed that it is encouraging to always engage members of the media on issues concerning child malnutrition and more specifically on exclusive breastfeeding in order to drum support for the campaign.
The Communication Specialist at UNICEF Nigeria, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, speaking on the week, charged MeCAM members to be alive to their responsibilities of stimulating support for yet another year and season of World Breastfeed Week.
UNICEF, he said, looks forward to members of MeCAM engaging through the media across its membership and country at large.
This, he said, could come in form of news reports, programmes, features, special reports, editorials, opinion pieces and commentaries.
In a related development, the National Coordinator, MeCAM Nigeria, Mr. Remmy Nweke, assured that the media advocacy group, especially at this era of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) would offer its best on the breastfeeding campaign 2016 so as to give it a boost.
Nweke quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) as saying that170 countries would be commemorating the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding, WHO noted, is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need.
Also, WHO recommended exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is six months old.
“Nutritious complementary foods should then be added while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond,” WHO officials pointed out.
Nweke further quoted WHO experts as saying that the World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year in over 170 countries to inspire breastfeeding and improve the health of babies across the world.
Noteworthy, Nweke said, is that in September 2015, the world’s leaders committed to 17 goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity.
“Together, they form the Sustainable Development Goals. We all have a part to play in achieving these goals by 2030,” he declared.
The World Breastfeeding Week 2016 theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our well-being from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.