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UNICEF, WHO Advocates for More Commitment in Domesticating Exclusive Breastfeeding

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UNICEF, WHO Advocates for More Commitment in Domesticating Exclusive Breastfeeding
Exclusive breastfeeding
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UNICEF, WHO Advocates for More Commitment in Domesticating Exclusive Breastfeeding

By Bashir Hassan Abubakar

As the World marks 2021 exclusive breastfeeding week, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) have advocated for implementation of commitments made by Nigerian government made at the start of this year by prioritizing breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and babies.

The call was made in a joint press statement by UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore and WHO DIrector-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the occasion marking the commencement of this year’s world breastfeeding week.

The statement, jointly signed by the media contacts of UNICEF Nigeria , Geoffrey Njoku and WHO’s Pippa Haughton was made available to newsmen by Samuel Kaalu of UNICEF field office Kano, informed that the world bodies said that, this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, under its theme ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’, is a time to revisit the commitments which includes the ensuring of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes – established to protect mothers from aggressive marketing practices by the baby food industry that needs to be fully implemented by governments, health workers and industry.

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Ensuring health care workers have the resources and information they need to effectively support mothers to breastfeed, including through global efforts such as the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, and guidelines on breastfeeding counselling.

Other commitment was the ensuring of employers allowing women the time and space they need to breastfeed; including paid parental leave with longer maternity leave; safe places for breastfeeding in the workplace; access to affordable and good-quality childcare; and universal child benefits and adequate wages.

UNICEF, WHO Advocates for More Commitment in Domesticating Exclusive Breastfeeding

The statement posit that exclusive breastfeeding is central to realising this commitment.

“Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, followed by exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond offer a powerful line of defence against all forms of child malnutrition, including wasting and obesity. Breastfeeding also acts as babies’ first vaccine, protecting them against many common childhood illnesses.

“While there has been progress in breastfeeding rates in the last four decades – with a 50 per cent increase in the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding globally – the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the fragility of those gains.

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“In many countries, the pandemic has caused significant disruptions in breastfeeding support services, while increasing the risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. Several countries have reported that producers of baby foods have compounded these risks by invoking unfounded fears that breastfeeding can transmit COVID-19 and marketing their products as a safer alternative to breastfeeding.

The statement disclosed that in Nigeria, where 1 in 8 children do not reach their 5th birthday and 3 in 10 children are stunted, optimal breastfeeding practices are known to reduce neonatal and child morbidities and mortality rates as well as stunting reduction.

“Available statistics in Nigeria reveal that the average duration of exclusive breastfeeding is approximately 3 months and only 3 out of every 10 children under 6 months of age were exclusively breastfed (29%). This is an improvement from 17% in 2013 to 29% in 2018 (NDHS,2013; 2018), however, this still falls significantly below the target of 50% set by the World Health Assembly to be achieved in 2025 and the SDG target for 2030.

“The percentage of children who were breastfed within 1 hour of birth (42%) remains less than 50%. Breastfeeding rates in Nigeria reduce with age – 83% of the children are breastfed up to one year, while 28% are breastfeeding till 2 years. Furthermore, the proportion of children who are not breastfeeding increases with age.

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The statement pointed out that , “as we approach the UN Food Systems Summit in September and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in December, governments, donors, civil society and the private sector all have an opportunity to make smart investments and commitments to tackle the global malnutrition crisis – including protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding – through stronger policies, programmes and actions.

“Now is not the time to lower our ambitions. Now is the time to aim high. We are committed to making the Nutrition for Growth Year of Action a success by ensuring that every child’s right to nutritious, safe and affordable food and adequate nutrition is realized from the beginning of life, starting with breastfeeding”, concludes the statement.

Our correspondent reports that August 1th to 7th of every year is been set aside globally to mark world exclusive breastfeeding week .

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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike

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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike
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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike

The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has ordered that the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors are restrained from continuing with the ongoing strike pending the determination of the substantive suit before it.

The court, therefore, ordered members of the association nationwide to return to work.

The court held that there is no amount of money that will compensate for the loss of lives in the circumstances.

Justice Bashar Alkali made the order on Friday while ruling on an application by the Federal Government in the suit against NARD.

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Industrial Court orders resident doctors to call off strike

The Federal Government’s lawyer, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), had moved his motion for interlocutory injunction, and prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant from continuing with the industrial action pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

He also prayed the court to compel the members of NARD nationwide to return to their duty posts pending the determination of the substantive suit.

He argued that resident doctors as persons who provide essential services cannot embark on strike and continuing to do so will wreck hardship on citizens.

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The resident doctor’s lawyer, Robinson Ariyo, vehemently opposed the application for interlocutory injunction and urged the court to discountenance their application.

He argued that the life of a medical doctor is not less useful than the life an average human being.

He argued that justice must be balanced, not just to the government, but also to the doctors who are the field marshals in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Details later…

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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG
The National President, National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige
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Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

Striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors have said that they may shift ground on their ongoing strike that started on August 2 if they see signs that the Federal Government will honour agreements and clear some outstanding payments.

The outstanding payments the association is expecting the government to settle before they can consider ending the strike include death benefits of members who died during COVID-19 pandemic and salary arrears among others.

It was further learnt that the leadership of NARD and that of the Nigerian Medical Association would be meeting the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Friday in continuation of efforts to end the strike.

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Our correspondent gathered that the issue of review of hazard allowance will feature prominently in the Friday meeting.

Pay death benefits, salary arrears, NARD tells FG

An earlier meeting NARD and NMA had with the minister on Tuesday was said to have been postponed due to the failure of both parties to agree.

When contacted on the telephone on Wednesday, NARD’s Secretary General, Jerry Isogun, confirmed the development to our correspondent.

Resident doctors, FG tell court they’re open to negotiation
However, the Federal Government and NARD on Wednesday told the National Industrial Court, Abuja that they were open to negotiations in order to end the ongoing strike action.

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They disclosed this to Justice Bashar Alkali when the matter came up in court.

The counsel for the resident doctors, Femi Falana (SAN), prayed the court to direct the parties to return to the negotiation table.

The counsel for the Federal Government, Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), responded that the matter at hand was of a special breed.

He told the court that the parties were earlier sent to an industrial arbitral panel, but the arbitral process failed.

However, Maduka told the court that the Federal Government was still open to negotiations.

Consequently, the court fixed its ruling on the ongoing dispute between the Federal Government and the resident doctors for September 17.

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Falana had raised the issue of the court’s jurisdiction and had sought that his application challenging the court’s jurisdiction be taken.

But Maduka stated that the issue of contempt had yet to be taken and argued that the issue of contempt should take precedence over the issue of jurisdiction.

Punchng.com

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Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors

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Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors
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Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors

President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has begged striking National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, to call off their ongoing strike.

Akelicious Media reports that the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made the call during the presidential committee on COVID-19 briefing on Monday.

The minister begged residents doctors to put an end to the ongoing strike action, adding that Buhari has promised to settle all debts.

Last week his excellency, the president received the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association in audience and in his remarks called on doctors on strike to return to duty and for those contemplating it to opt for peaceful resolution, so as not to put the lives of citizens at risk,” he said.

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“He reminded us that his administration has a sound track record of paying debts, even such debts as inherited from, or ignored by preceeding administration. Resident doctors are therefore assured from the highest authority in the land that all debts will be settled, when they are verified and validated.

Please Cease The Strike – Buhari Govt Begs Resident Doctors

“With this, I call on striking doctors to put an end to their industrial action immediately and return to work. Nigeria has been lucky with the relatively low impact of COVID-19 so far, and we need to keep our preparedness optimal. We cannot afford to stretch our luck too far.”

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Buhari had last Friday met with members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in a bid to find a solution to crisis rocking the health sector.

Recall that Doctors on August 2, embarked on strike action, accusing the federal government of failing to implement agreements it had with their union on issues including salaries, hazard allowances, and others.

The strike embarked upon by the doctors had been expected to be close to a peaceful resolution until the resident doctors on Sunday told the federal government they won’t sign the memorandum of understanding put on the table by the government team.

The doctors accused the government of insincerity in its dealings, hence their inability to trust what is contained in the memorandum again since they’ve been deceived previously.

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