FUTURE ASSURED WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK 2017

 

SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED DURING 2017 WBW

Future Assured collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and other partners to celebrate the 2017 world breastfeeding week which took place  from the 1st to 7th of August. This event is held annually to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. This year’s theme Sustaining Breastfeeding Together, speaks to the need for communities, families, employers and general public to work together for the common good. The week, packed full with activities, was flagged off with the Launch of the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative by HE Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari ably represented by her Senior Special Assistant Dr. Hajo Sani. The BAI launch was to bolster the Abuja Breastfeeding Declaration reached in June 2016. Other activities conducted during the week, included a session on breast feeding during the radio program “Future Assured Half hour”, Commemoration of 20 years Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative by the State House Medical Centre and sensitization of nursing mothers at the Kuchingoro Primary Health Care Centre. There was also a round table discussion on the need for maternity protection for working mothers. The celebrations ended with an awareness walk and sensitization at Garki market, Abuja.

It is expected that the WBW campaign would result in an increase in the number of women breastfeeding their babies exclusively for the first six months of life.

  • Background and rationale for World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network of individuals and organizations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. WBW is celebrated in more than 120 countries including Nigeria. During this week, programs and events are organized to advocate for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival because Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that an infant needs for the first six months of life, half of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life. Unicef estimates that up to 13% of under-five mortality could be prevented if infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six-months of live. If breastfeeding were scaled up to near universal levels, about 820 000 child lives would be saved every year in developing countries like Nigeria. In addition, Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers. It helps in child spacing, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes. However, despite the obvious benefits of breast feeding only 37% of Nigerian women breastfeed and of these only 25% do so exclusively. Therefore, more needs to be done to support, promote and protect the rights of women to breastfeed. In realization of the need to raise the level of awareness, Future Assured aligned with   the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and other actors to celebrate the 2017 World Breastfeeding week from 1st to 7th August. The thrust of the World Breastfeeding Week 2017 was about working together for the common good, as evidenced by its theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.”

Preceding the week, a “virtual press conference” was organized by Unicef.  The wife of the president of Nigeria and founder of Future Assured, Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari joined UNICEF, World Bank, Breastfeeding Country scorecard Activist and the Indonesian Health Minister to call for more political commitment and funding for Breastfeeding programming.

  • Goals and Objectives of the WBW Celebrations

The goal of the WBW celebrations was to increase exclusive breastfeeding rates in the country and consequently reduce malnutrition and under five mortality in Nigeria.

Objectives

  • 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.
  • To engage and collaborate with a wider range of actors for promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding.
  • To explore ways to mobilize a variety of actions at all levels to enhance breastfeeding and Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF)

 

  • ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT DURING WBW 2017

To commemorate the week and increase breastfeeding awareness, the organization actively participated in the planning and implementation of various activities. The details are given below.

  • Flag off of the breastfeeding week

Dr Hajo Sani Launching the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (BAI), on behalf of HE Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari

On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the WBW was flagged off by the Honourable Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole on the 1st of August 2017 at the Rockview Royale Hotel. He was represented by the Director, Department of Family Health FMOH; Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi.

The highlights of the event were:

  • The launch of the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative (BAI), by the National Nutrition Ambassador and CEO Future Assured, Her Excellency Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari who was ably represented by her Senior Special Assistant; Dr Hajo Sani
  • A Ministerial Press Briefing to inform journalists on the new research findings for increased investment in breastfeeding
  • A Panel discussion on the Abuja Breastfeeding Declaration.
  • Signing of the Abuja Declaration by Dr Hajo Sani on behalf of HE, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari as well as Future Assured Staff and other partners.
  • Radio Program

To increase public awareness, breastfeeding was discussed during Future Assured Half Hour on 1st August. • The program was aired on Radio Nigeria and underscored the following;

  • The importance of early initiation of breast feeding within the first hour of birth.
  • The need for exclusive breastfeeding for up to six months,
  • The benefits of continuing breastfeeding till two years.

 

  • 20th Anniversary of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative of the State House Medical Center.

The state house medical center celebrated 20 years of beign a baby friendly hospital on the 2nd of August 2017.

The event took place at the state house conference centre and was chaired by the permanent secretary of the State House Medical Centre Alhaji. Jalal Arabi who was represented by the Managing Director, Dr. Munir Hussaini Yakasai.

The special guest of honor was the National Breastfeeding Champion; the wife of the President of Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari who was ably represented by Dr. Hajo sani, her senior special assistant. A baby show also took place and the 1st 2nd and 3rd places winners were presented with gifts by the special guest of honour.  In addition, advocacy messages were delivered through dance dramas.

 

  • Members of the Future Assured team in partnership with the National Primary health care Agency visited Kuchingoro PHC during a routine immunization day. The aim was to increase breastfeeding awareness among staff of the PHC and nursing mothers.  Sensitization at Kuchingoro Primary Health Centre (PHC)

A discussion on how to promote breast feeding in the family and community was anchored by Future Assured Staff and Corp Members from PHCDA. The session was interactive and mothers’ concerns about breastfeeding, were clarified during the discourse.

The talking points during the sensitization were;

  • The benefits of early initiation of breastfeeding and need for exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life.
  • The importance of maternal nutrition, proper attachment and positioning in the success of breastfeeding,
  • Difficulties encountered during breastfeeding and management

 

  • Round table discussion on breast feeding and maternity entitlements in the workplace.

Future Assured participated in this event organized by alive and thrive which took place at the Casa de Lucy hotel in Apo on the 4th of August 2017. Representatives from NGOs, community based organizations, ministry of labor, ministry of health, primary health care development agency, private organizations and Nigeria Labor congress were present at the event.  Exclusive breastfeeding practices among different cadres of public and private sectors was discussed and the main concern was the need for working mothers to be protected during maternity. Other issues considered were:

  • Need to encourage employers to provide breastfeeding breaks and breastfeeding room.
  • A proposal to extend maternity leave to 6 months was explored, but there were contrary views because of the fear that employers may discriminate against women during recruitment if maternity leave was extended to six months.
  • Myths and misconceptions preventing early initiation such as, women not being strong enough to breastfeed immediately after birth, the need for babies to drink water because it was essential to life and some women perceived as being unfit n to breastfeed because of their disposition (anger) or occupation (commercial sex workers).

 

 

  • Awareness Walk and Sensitization at Garki Market

Future Assured in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Primary Health Care Development Agency and Action against hunger, conducted an awareness campaign on breastfeeding.

It consisted of a walk which commenced at the beginning of Lagos Street and terminated at the Garki ‘Monday” Market. Inside the market, a sensitization on the need for breast feeding was carried out. This was followed a by a question and answer session. Future Assured printed banners and posters which were displayed during the walk and sensitization Thereafter the entire team was given lunch.  Transport allowance was also given to sixty-five corp members.

 

 

  • Commissioning of breastfeeding rooms in Kebbi State

HE, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by her Senior Special Assistant Dr. Hajo Sani, commissioned breastfeeding rooms in Kebbi State. The rooms were set up in the state secretariat by the wife of the governor Dr. Zainab Abubakar Atiku Bagudu. This would enable   mothers to adequately breast feed their babies even while at work.

 

 

 

 

  • Expected Outcomes

The campaign would contribute to achieving the target of 50 per cent exclusive breastfeeding rate by 2018 in line with the provision of the National Strategic Plan on Nutrition. This would ultimately reduce malnutrition in children and improve child survival.

 

 

  • Recommendations
  • The campaign on exclusive breastfeeding and young child feeding practices should be intensified and continued after the week.
  • Subsequently, a pre-activity briefing should be done before any event and there should be a single chain of command to improve coordination in future activities