4. Nigeria: Over Five Million Nigerian Newborns Not Exclusively Breastfed, Says Unicef
As part of activities to mark World Breastfeeding Week, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said more than five million newborns in Nigeria are deprived of essential nutrients and antibodies that protect them from disease and death as they are not being exclusively breastfed.
To address the issue, the United Nations health body welcomed the National Food and Nutrition Policy 2014- 2019 that has a strong exclusive breastfeeding component and urged the Federal Government to include a budget line for nutrition in the health sector budget and a timely release of budget for immediate programming. UNICEF in a statement yesterday said approximately seven million children are born in Nigeria every year and, according to the 2014 National Nutrition and Health Survey, only 25 per cent are exclusively breastfed from zero to six months of age. UNICEF Nigeria Chief of Nutrition, Arjan de Wagt, said: “We know that the pressure to give water to newborns in addition to breast milk is high. But the stomach of a baby is so small it can barely hold 60 milliliters of liquid and when it is filled with water, it leaves no room for breast milk and its life-sustaining nutrients.