A Nutritionist, Malam Sulaiman Mamman, says low level of compliance to early initiation to breastfeeding and complementary breastfeeding are major causes of malnutrition among children.
Mamman, also the Nutrition Coordinator, Gombe State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Gombe that only five per cent of mothers initiated early breastfeeding.
According to him, the figure is based on the 2017 Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey in the country.
He said: “Early initiation of breastfeeding is when a mother gives breast milk to infant within one hour of birth.
“The essence is to ensure that the infant receives colostrum, the first breast milk, which is rich in protective factors.”
According to him, only 21 per cent of mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding for six months; while 19 per cent practice breastfeeding generally, eight per cent practice complementary infant feeding.
He expressed dissatisfaction at the low level of practice and appealed to mothers to give their babies breast milk within one hour of birth.
Mamman said: “Mothers are to continue to breastfeed exclusively for six months and thereafter introduce complementary infant feeding.
“Complementary feeding is when you give breast milk alongside semi-solid and solid food.
“The practice will go a long way in curbing malnutrition among children, especially as in 2017 alone, 150 children died from malnutrition in Gombe State.”
The nutrition coordinator urged the state government to scale up the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition Centres in Gombe.
According to him, there are presently, only four centres, Gombe, Dukku, Nafada and Kaltungo, serving the 11 local government areas in the state.
Mamman said that increasing the numbers of centres had become necessary because of the distance between the centres and some LGAs.
He said that people from other areas found it difficult to take their children to any of the existing centres, hence the need for scale up to cover all the 11 LGAs.