Oyo State Government says it has achieved 58.7 per cent in the practice of Exclusive Breastfeeding by women of child bearing age.
Dr. Khadijah Alarape, the Project Coordinator, Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN), Oyo Project Implementation Unit, made this known at a stakeholders meeting of the Oyo State Committee on Food and Nutrition, organised by ANRiN Project in Ibadan.
Alarape, elated with the recent data from MICS 2022 Survey, said the increase showed that pregnant and lactating women were now aware of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the general wellbeing of their children.
She appreciated Gov. Seyi Makinde for his support at increasing the maternity leave for pregnant women from three months to six months and ANRiN for implementing seven Basic Package of Nutritional Services across the 33 local government areas in the state.
Alarape said this had really helped the status of exclusive breastfeeding in the state in the last two years.
“The state governor should be thanked for his help in granting six months maternity leave for our mothers. This has really helped.
“This can be confirmed from available statistics on nutrition indices that the state is doing well as far as Exclusive Breastfeeding is concerned, though, we need to work more on the rate of stunting in the state,” she said.
Alarape, calling for more collaboration of SCFN members, said it was imperative for every “Line Ministries on Nutrition” to have a budgetary allocation for nutrition activities in their various MDA’s.
She reiterated ANRiN’s effort at proving cost effective nutritional services to pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, as well as children under five across the state.
Alarape said that two non-state actors, Solina Health Ltd. and Save the Children, are currently working in communities across the state, giving Pregnant and Lactating Mothers as well as Children Under Five basic Package of Nutritional Services.
In his remarks, the Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Ministry of Health, Dr Abass Gbolahan, called on healthcare workers to ensure that proper counselling was given to pregnant and lactating mothers, especially in putting of babies to breast within the first one hour of birth.
This, according to him, would help improve the nutritional status and cognitive wellbeing of the baby.
Also, Mr. Moruf Oyetunji, the Director, Development Partners, Ministry of Budget and Planning, said the meeting was a statutory quarterly meeting to review the nutritional intervention and address malnutrition in the state.
The representative of Bureau of Statistics, Mr. Ola Ayanleke Olatunji, reeling out results of the MICS 2022 Survey, said the state had improved in the status of exclusive breastfeeding from 49.5 per cent in 2021 to 58.7 per cent in 2022.
In his remarks, Mr. Bulus Shabanda, the Project Director, Save the Children International (SCI), said the state was among state’s that were doing well in terms of improving the nutritional status of women and children.
Shabanda said that this was achieved through the involvement of stakeholders and commitment of the state government as highlighted in the National Strategic Development Plan.