In Nigeria, religious leaders and communities join initiative to improve children’s health and well-being
Abuja, Nigeria,24 November 2010 – Christian and Muslim religious leaders in Nigeria urged thousands of their followers to follow practices to ensure their children’s health and survival, particularly breastfeeding of infants, during recent celebrations to mark the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children.
Citing from the Bible and the Quran, Alhaji Altine Waziri, representing the Sultan of Sokoto and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, emphasized the importance and blessings of mothers breastfeeding their children.
Promoting child health
Participants in the Day of Prayer and Action observances used traditional parental songs to communicate messages on breastfeeding, use of insecticide-treated bednets, hand-washing, routine immunisation and attendance of pregnant women at antenatal clinics.
UNICEF Deputy Representative Jacques Boyer cited research findings indicating that breastfed children have at least six times greater chance for survival in the early months of life than non-breastfed children.
"Breast is best"
Pastor Paul Eneche similarly urged the multitude of religious leaders and worshippers in the packed arena of Dunamis International Church to spread the message of breastfeeding to all Nigerians. He and his wife, Becky, both of whom are medical doctors, pledged to include breastfeeding in their marriage counselling seminars for new couples.