A Non Governmental Organisation known as Alive & Thrive has given a Kaduna based parent a ‘Breastfeeding Honor Award’ for exclusively breastfeeding their triplets for six months.
The Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Ummi El-Rufai was also awarded in recognition of her commitments in advocating breastfeeding practices and tackling malnutrition in the State.
Presenting the award in Kaduna, the Project Director, Voctor Ogbodo commended the parents whose babies are already seven months and are weighing 7kg each as a result of the exclusive breastfeeding.
The parent of the triplet, a girl and two boys gave their separate testimonies. Their Father, Dr. Ibrahim Baba said it was the first time his wife had practiced exclusive breastfeeding after two deliveries.
“I got enlightened on the breastfeeding benefit on Radio and stood my grounds as the head of the family to practice it. When I discovered my wife was going to deliver triplets, I had fears if she could cope but was later encouraged by health workers and alas! It was successful,” Dr Baba.
He said he had to take a month leave from work to assist his wife. He disclosed that he helped in changing diapers, bathing the babies and also stayed awake at nights when the kids were breastfed.
He however stressed the need for men to be enlightened and educated on the health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding so that they could support their wives adequately.
While speaking, the mother of the triplets, Amina Abubakar disclosed that, she learnt about exclusive breastfeeding from her cousin and promised to practice it.
“It wasn’t easy but I had to do it. My husband was very supportive and encouraged me all through the period. I was like, a baby can suckle on two breast, two babies with two breast and two arms but three was something else. But by God’s grace and with my husband’s support, today, it is a success story for my family,” she stated.
Abubakar called on health workers to interact more with their clients, educate them and also do a follow-up when necessary to encourage exclusive breastfeeding practices.
Receiving the award, the Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Ummi El-Rufai said she was humbled to receive the award.
According to her, Kaduna is fortunate to have such wonderful parents who tried hard to breastfeed the triplets. She also thanked those who are engaged in the practice but not known yet for their sacrifice in ensuring the development and well being of children across the State.
“I commend Alive & thrive for bringing our attention to the model family and all the support they have rendered to the State,” she stated.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Hadiza Balarabe said the State was proud of the model parents and also encouraged other parents to emulate the practice of breastfeeding.
According to her, the practice is essential as it saves lives, improves women and children’s health and also boosts intelligence and lifelong productivity.
On his part, the Head of Nutrition for the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu said they were in Kaduna to celebrate women who have shown commitment in the practice of exclusive breastfeeding.
According to him, “I was amazed when I learnt that a mother of tripplets in Kaduna exclusively breastfed them. I was told that she wanted to give up at a point but was encouraged by her husband, community leaders and health workers during the period.”
Isokpunwu attributed ”malnutrition to lack of exclusive breastfeeding. A lot of women are ignorant of the benefits of breastfeeding…Most women are discouraged by cultural practices, lack of support from their husbands, communities, health workers as well as their workplaces.”
He also congratulated the Wife of the Kaduna State Governor, Ummi El-Rufai for her commitment in encouraging breastfeeding and also tackling issues of malnutrition across the State.
“Her award is well deserved and we advise other States to emulate this huge achievement by Kaduna State of investing in malnutrition and breastfeeding program,” Isokpunwu added.
The Health worker, Ramatu Ajiyanu who did a follow-up up on the model family by visiting them 28 times in the period of six months was also awarded for selflessness and dedication.