The Alive and Thrive organisation, on Thursday in Kaduna presented an award to parent of triplets, for exclusively breastfeeding the babies for six months.
The Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Ummi El-Rufai also received award for her commitment in advocating breastfeeding practices and tackling malnutrition in the state.
Similarly, Ramatu Ajiyanu, the health worker who did follow-up on the model family by visiting them 28 times in six months was also awarded for her dedication and selfless service.
Presenting the Breastfeeding Honor Award to the couple, Amina and Baba, the Project Director Alive and Thrive, Voctor Ogbodo commended the parents whose babies are already seven months and weighing seven kg each as a result of the exclusive breastfeeding.
The parent of the triplets, a girl and two boys, gave their seperate testimonies after receiving the award.
The 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”.
Baba said he had to take a month leave from work to assist his wife, adding that he helped in changing diapers, bathing the babies and also stayed awake at nights when the kids were breastfed.
He 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.
The mother of the triplets, Amina Sani 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 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.
On her part, wife of the state governor, said she was humbled to receive the award.
She commended the parents for their perceverance in exclusively breastfeeding the three babies.
Kaduna is fortunate to have such wonderful parents who strived hard to breastfeed the triplets, Ummi said.
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 and Thrive for bringing our attention to the model family and all the support they have rendered to the State”.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe said the State is proud of the parents for being a model, saying that it would encourage other parents to emulate the practice of breastfeeding.
She said 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, 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.
“I was amazed when I learnt that a mother of triplets 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 governor for her commitment in encouraging breastfeeding and 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 programmes”