By Mary Jalingo


Deputy Governor of Niger State, Hon. Ahmed Mohammed Ketso during an interaction with a breastfeeding mother at the Neonatal wing of the Minna General Hospital.

Niger State Acting Governor,  Hon. Ahmed Mohammed Ketso has called on women to ensure that they exclusively breastfed their babies especially in the first six months of life. 
Hon. Ahmed Mohammed Ketso made the call during an awareness walk from the Obasanjo Shopping Complex to the Neonatal wing of the Minna General Hospital organized by the State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ),  Niger State chapter to commemorate the 2017 World Breastfeeding Day in Minna yesterday .
He said for infants to survive and develop well, they need to be exclusively breastfed adding that breast milk was rich in nutrients and anti-bodies which are major pre-requisites for a healthy growth. 
He stated that when a child is exclusively breastfed, his immune system is strengthened against childhood killer diseases. 
He said he was happy to be part of the awareness walk to sensitize the public on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and called on men to support their wives in ensuring that mothers breastfeed their babies well which he noted would reduce the high rate of stunting in our society. 
Also speaking,  the Executive Director, State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA),  Dr. Yahaya Nau’zo said in African tradition, breastfeeding was very important but noted that with the availability of more processed food in the market,  parents tend to forget the role that breast milk plays in a child’s life. 
Dr. Yahaya Nau’zo said breast milk was so important and vital that it does not only bond a child and it’s mother but also builds a child immunity through the anti-bodies presence in breast milk. 
He said the issue of breastfeeding is not a mother’s thing alone as husband and other members of the family need to support the woman to be able to breastfeed well. 
Hajiya Amina Isa,  the State Nutrition Officer commended the state government for it’s interest in an improved nutritional status of citizens through an improved allocation to the health sector in the 2017 budget of the State. 
Hajiya Amina Isa urged the government to ensure timely release of allocated funds to support nutrition activities adding that the state being an agricultural haven was blessed with all sorts of nutritious food which are not expensive that mother can eat to breastfeed well but noted that the lack of knowledge was a big problem.