UNICEF‘s Field Office in Bauchi has created six additional Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centers to cater for malnourished children. That is according to the Chief Field Officer, Dr. Abdullahi Kaikai.
Kaikai, who disclosed this in Bauchi at a forum to mark this year’s breastfeeding week said that the centers would complement the existing ones in Kirfi, Dambam and Katagum.
Represented by Philomina Irene, the office’s Nutrition Specialist, he said that the new centers are located in Bauchi, Warji, Tafawa Balewa, Gamawa, Itas Gadau and Darazo Local Government Areas.
He said that Nigeria has an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 17 per cent, meaning that at least 5.4 million children were not exclusively breastfed.
According to him, 11 million children under five years are malnourished in Nigeria, leading to the death of 100,000 of them.“Such losses translate to 12 billion dollars in the economy,” he explained.
The official explained that 74 per cent of children, who are not exclusively breastfed are from families in the lowest income group in Nigeria.
He expressed worry that only 25 per cent of mothers knew that new born babies should be given only breast milk in the first six months of life, adding that superstitions, cultural norms and other beliefs were hindering exclusive breastfeeding.
Kaikai called for behavioral change toward exclusive breastfeeding so as to curtail the effects of not doing so.
The field officer called for friendly infants and young children feeding practices, saying that UNICEF had already trained volunteer community mobilizers, health workers and NGOs to support such practices.
Mr. Adamu Gamawa, Executive Secretary, State Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), in his remarks, said that the agency would establish nine additional nutrition monitoring centres in the state.
He said that the new centers would be sited in local government areas where such facilities were lacking