Sokoto Government set to establish crèches for Breastfeeding mothers 

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The Sokoto State government says it will establish crèches at public places across the state for nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies during working hours. Malam Ali Hamza, the state’s Nutrition Officer in the Sokoto Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SSPHDA), disclosed this at a stakeholder’s engagement on Thursday in Sokoto. The event was in commemoration of World Breastfeeding week with the theme: “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making Difference for Working Parents”.

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It was organised by the SSPHCDA with the support from fhi360, A & T as well as Nutritional Society of Nigeria, Sokoto chapter.

Hamza also explained that the crèches would be sheds where breastfeeding mothers would have convenient and habitable environment to breastfeed their babies without disruption of productive periods. He said assessment have been concluded for the projects at business institutions, marketplaces, schools, hospitals and others.

According to him, the places will be equipped with relevant instruments and safety gadgets to ensure habitability in the places.

The Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry for Women and Children Affairs, Hajia A’isha Dantsoho, disclosed in her address, that the ministry is collaborating with the office of the Head of Service, were in the process of providing creches in ministries, departments and agencies.

Dantsoho said that modalities were also underway for extension of maternal leave to six months for working mothers in the state.

In his presentation, a public health expert, Prof. Mansur Oche, lamented that only about 20 per cent of mothers complied with exclusive breastfeeding technique in the country.

Oche underscored the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for healthy living and growth on children after birth and urged stakeholders to educate people on the practice. “We need to identify all the barriers to exclusive breastfeeding and address them holistically for the wellbeing of our children,” he said.

He also called for enabling environment for working mothers to breastfeed their babies at their respective places of work.

A former Principal of the Sokoto state School of Nursing and Midwifery, Mrs. Fatima Bello- Gummi, observed that the present economic hardship had become a blessing for newborn babies.

Bello-Gummi noted that hardship had forced many women to exclusively breastfeed their children because they could not afford baby formula.

“In the past, some women preferred giving their children baby formula, because they wanted to keep their breasts intact. But the reverse is being the case now because many of them cannot afford it and therefore, stick to exclusive breastfeeding which is cheaper and even more nutritious,” she noted.