* UNICEF supports breastfeeding programmes in Niger
* 시간: 03 min 24 secs
* 촬영도시: Maradi province
* 촬영국가: Niger
* 촬영일자: 03 Aug 2010
17 year-old Rahina Musa is nine months pregnant with her first child.
She will be giving birth any day now and her husband is taking her to the rural health center near their village for her final check-up together with other expecting mothers.
Like all pregnant women in Niger and those with young children, she receives free health care.
Besides providing regular check-ups and treating diseases, a key function of these UNICEF supported village health posts, is to educate mothers on simple practices that can have dramatic health benefits.
One of the most important is exclusive Breast-feeding for the first six months.
SOUNDBITE (English) Mickey Chopra – UNICEF Chief of Health:
"It protects the child from many of the dangers that a baby and a young child face in a place like Niger where there's big problems with diarrhea, lack of clean water, with general poverty as well. It has the thirteenth highest level of mortality for young children. and therefore breastfeeding and exclusive breast-feeding is probably as important there as it is anywhere in the world, not least because it's an antibiotic itself as well"
Colostrum the first milk secreted by a woman immediately after giving birth contains large quantities of antibodies which help the baby fight illnesses. Studies have shown that exclusively breast-feeding a child for the first six months can reduce infant mortality by up to 13 %.
Saving young lives is especially crucial in Niger. The country is in the grip of a food crisis which threatens more than 500,000 children with severe malnutrition.
To this end, UNICEF together with Niger's Public Health Minsistry has launched a nationwide campaign to promote breastfeeding and discourage the traditional practice of only giving babies water, juices and herbal liquids.
They are spreading the message through radio and television, but most importantly in villages across the country using "community animators" to encourage behavior change.
Akuma Yaduza is a mother of six, but 7 month-old Aba is her first child to be exclusively breast fed.
SOUNDBITE Akuma Yaduza, - Mother (Hausa)
"My neighbor did it with her child so I decided to try it too." says as she suckles her seven-month old son Aba. Akuma has six children but this is the first to be breastfed exclusively. "I've noticed a big difference," she explains, " He has never been sick and I've never needed had to take him to the clinic. No diarrhea, no vomiting. Absolutely nothing."
Today only 10% of women in Niger are exclusively breastfeeding, so empowering women to embrace the practice is an urgent priority for U