First 100 days are critical in early childhood development- Health Minister

Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole
Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole

ABUJA (Health Ministry’ Report)- The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has said that the first 100 days from conception are very critical to the development of brain and the entire body of a child.

The Minister made this known on Tuesday September 26, 2017 while declaring open, National Early Childhood Development Conference in Abuja with a theme: Investing Early in Nigerian Children.

The Minister said “adequate nutrition at this period is essential to proper development. Poor nutrition would lead to malnutrition and malnutrition affects cognitive development of the child”.

The Minister said damage done at this period is often always permanent. He added that poor investment in children at the early stage lead to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension when child become adult.

“Inadequate investment in children lead to spending of much money in treating diseases that could have been prevented with proper early childhood development” the Minister said.

Adewole said that the present administration is deeply committed to investing in Children and mothers. Adding that the Federal Ministry of Health has developed policies and Programme that supports early childhood development.

The Minister advised mothers to breastfeed their babies. He said “not only breastfeeding but exclusive breastfeeding”.

In his remarks, the Country Director UNICEF, Mohammed Malik Fall described Investing in Early Childhood Development as services to support caregivers, quality pre-primary education and good nutrition.

He recommended policies that would give parents time and resources needed to support young children health development as two years of free pre- primary education, six month of paid maternity leave and four weeks of paid paternity leave.

Speaking at the event, the World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud expressed their determination to work with Nigeria Government in Early Child Development.