‘Nigeria can save N18b, lives with breast milk’
Nigeria can save over N11 billion and lives, if substitutes to breast milk are eliminated within the first six months after birth, Alive&Thrive has said.
It added that the country can also save another N6.93 billion used for treatment of preventable ailments.
Bauchi State Focal Person of Alive&Thrive, Asimobi Chidi, during a media dialogue on Maternal, Infant and Young Children Nutrition (MIYCN) in Bauchi, at the weekend, lamented that Nigeria’s malnutrition indices lead other countries of the world.
Citing a study by the organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the cost of not breastfeeding babies, Chidi said: “The cost of breast milk substitute stood at $38 million (about N11 billion). This amount could have been saved for other important things.
“Also, 103,742 child deaths, as well as 10 million cases of diarrhoea and pneumonia, could be prevented (with exclusive breastfeeding). Treatment costs of N6.93 billion will also be saved.”
Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, who was represented by the Director, Disease Control of BSPHCDA, Dahiru Ibrahim, said: “We know that Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is not a sustainable approach because of the cost attached to it and the number of patients we have that whatever is donated to us will not go round.
“What we need to be doing is to ensure that we engage the communities to know the dangers associated with inadequate nutrients, from conception, childbirth and, of course, allowing the children to survive and thrive.”
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