2.5 million newborns died within the first month of life — Expert
The Kaduna Programmes Manager of the Alive and Thrive project, Sarah Kwasu has said 2.5 million newborns die within the first month of life and 295,000 women died due to pregnancy-related causes globally.
She asserted this during a media roundtable organized by the Alive and Thrive project in Kaduna yesterday.
According to her Nigeria accounts for over 34 percent of global maternal deaths. The risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, or after an abortion for a Nigerian woman is one in 22, compared to one in 49,000 in developed countries.
She added that 95 percent of these deaths were preventable but Nigeria loses about 2,313 children daily translating to 844,321 under-five children deaths annually.
Kwasu explained that others’ nutrition status and health, both before and during pregnancy, had significant effects on the outcome of her child.
She added that a mother’s nutrition status and health, both before and during pregnancy, had significant effects on the outcome of her child.
“A baby’s birth weight, rate of postnatal growth, and chances of survival are all influenced by the mother’s health and dietary intake.
“Good nutritional status before, during, and after pregnancy optimizes maternal health and reduces the risk of pregnancy complications, birth defects, and chronic disease in her children in later adulthood,” she said.
She further said Lasting progress in global health and development was achievable through improving nutrition during the critical 1,000 days beginning with adequate maternal nutrition.
In his remark Assistant Nutrition Officer of the state, Mr. Adams Ango urged journalists in the state to promote salient issues on Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) in the state.
He said that according to Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index Report (2015), the poverty rate in Kaduna state stood at 56.5%, while about 1.6 million children risk malnutrition and Over 800,000 children (48%) were stunted.
He noted that public funding of nutrition was still inadequate and fragmented across sectors leading to delays in the implementation of nutrition interventions, with consequent unacceptable indices.
Ango however said that the state had deployed strategies and interventions in curtailing malnutrition and its consequences in the state.
He said the World Bank Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project, provided funding for improving nutrition through MIYCN counseling services.
It also provided Basic Nutrition Package services across communities in the 23 local governments.
He added that the state was implementing Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in 87 health facilities in 17 LGAs across the state with Ready-to-Use Therapeutic food (RUTF).
Ango stressed that the media if equipped with the knowledge on key issues in MIYCN, including code for marketing of breast milk substitutes, would enhance reportage of the issues for the public good.
He said the objective of this was to discuss the role of the radio and television producers and newspaper editors in promoting MIYCN.
Similarly, Rahila Maishanu, the Breast Milk Substitute Desk Officer of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Kaduna, said the World Health Assembly (WHA), 1981 adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (BMS).
She explained that the WHA adopted the code as a weapon to protect breastfeeding from the negative impact that aggressive advertising and marketing techniques by Infant Food Manufacturers (IFM) were having on breastfeeding rates and duration.
Maishanu further said that NAFDAC was empowered by law to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale, and use of foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and others.
“By the law, NAFDAC became the home of the code and the Agency mandated to implement, monitor and enforce the provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes,” she said.
She noted that the media needed to be familiar with laws and regulations on marketing breast milk substitutes in Nigeria by training staff to identify and report violations of the code or related National Regulations.
“The media must reject any advertisements promoting breast milk substitute products, NAFDAC does not issue advertisement permits for breast milk substitutes,”Maishanu said.
She called on media houses to endorse programs that promoted optimal feeding practices for infants and young children.
She also called for the establishment of crèches in media houses for breastfeeding mothers.
“The role of the media cannot be overemphasized in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding.
“Every consequence of note starts and ends with information and education and the media is believed to be the best medium to both educate and inform the public,” she said.