USAID, BA-N Charge Journalists to Promote Exclusive Breastfeeding in Ebonyi

Ebonyi State Social Behavior Change and Advocacy Core Group (SBC-ACG) of Breakthrough Action Nigeria BA-N has instructed journalists to use their platforms to promote the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and other health benefits for mothers and children.

According to the group, poor breastfeeding causes poor development in children.

The SBC-ACG members made the call at their quarterly meeting at Don Sampros Hotel Ishieke, Abakaliki, organized by BA-N with the support of USAID.

The group that focuses on addressing social/gender norms, as they influence priority behaviors (spouse communication and joint decision-making, exclusive breastfeeding, Skill Birth Attendant delivery, immunization and rapid fever search), said the media support will help fight malnutrition and other dangerous diseases that can harm children and their mothers during and after childbirth in the state.

According to them, the use of razor blades by some traditional birth attendants to perform cesarean deliveries in the communities has also increased maternal and child deaths in the state.

The group also instructed religious leaders, traditional rulers, civil society organizations and the Ministry of Health to also support and monitor pregnant mothers to ensure they go for pregnancy, eat well and give birth in the health facilities.

“We found during our outreach that poverty, fear, ignorance and negligence are the main factors driving the increasing increase in maternal and infant mortality in the state. We advocate that the religious leaders, traditional rulers, media, civil society organizations support and care for the disadvantaged pregnant mothers in their area so that they can have safe births and healthy children.”

“We also want the religious leaders, traditional rulers, to start kicking women who deliver their babies with traditional birth control because the TBAs cannot manage the emergencies or provide adequate care to the mothers and children.”

However, the group urged men to allow their wives to support them financially to reduce family poverty.

Speaking to the SBC-ACG group, BA-N Advocacy Adviser Malam Mukhtar Gaya praised the group for their efforts to sensitize and educate residents of Ebonyi State about the importance of always visiting the hospital when they being pregnant, eating right during pregnancy and other health benefits.

He then encouraged the religious leaders to always preach the gospel in their churches and mosques. That, he says, will drastically reduce deaths among women and children in the state.

BA-N Acting State Coordinator, Ms. Ifeoma Chris, also appreciated the volunteers for their efforts in the fight against maternal and infant mortality and malnutrition in Ebonyi State.

She then urged them to keep up the good work by raising awareness everywhere they go.

Earlier, Ms. Charity Odio, BA-N’s Advocacy and Capacity Strengthen Officer, said the meeting was convened to identify gaps and challenges and offer solutions, get feedback from the action point of the last review meeting and the status of SBC- Assess ACG members and strengthen links with other integrated SBC approaches and identify gaps in the local government areas that oversee SBC-ACG activities.

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