THEME:”PROTECT BREASTFEEDING. A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY”
World Breastfeeding Week is observed by Nations, Nigeria inclusive.
On the 2nd of August, 2021, the Nigerian Government launched the National guidelines on Baby Friendly Initiatives in commemoration of the week.
Nigeria’s Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire while performing the Launch said “The Country’s breastfeeding indices are still below optimal as only 42% of babies in Nigeria are put to breast within one year of birth. 29% of children 0-6 months are exclusively breastfed and 97% of them are only breastfed at one point or the other”.
Speaking further, the Minister added that for successful breastfeeding towards improving the support, promotion and protection of breastfeeding practices and services in communities, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with other stakeholders reviewed the baby friendly initiative. “it will not only help in improving our breastfeeding indices in the country but also contribute significantly to the reduction of Malnutrition”.
Meanwhile, WHO commits to support and actively participate in the global campaign to raise awareness to breastfeeding and well being of women and children in Nigeria. UNICEF and other relevant health organizations identified the need for greater attention to exclusive breastfeeding for its health benefits and advocated for 6 months Maternity leave for Mothers.
Kogi State was not left out of the commemoration of the week as the Executive Director, kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency – Dr Abubakar Yakubu threw more weight on the approach of the FG to support the Baby Friendly initiative. In a message shared via platforms, He charged mothers of childbearing age in the State to maintain and sustain the exclusive Breastfeeding of 6 months to ensure healthier babies while calling on Fathers and husbands to support breastfeeding mothers with all it takes. He reiterated that the course is a shared responsibility of parenthood.
Mrs Obafemi Victoria, Maternal and Child Health Focal person with the KSPHCDA highlighted benefits of breastfeeding as one of the best ways to provide young infants with the essential nutrients required for growth and development. World Health Organization (WHO) says that breast milk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and acts as the baby’s first vaccine protecting them against many common childhood illnesses.
She added that World Breastfeeding week is celebrated to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world to benefit the infant as protection against diseases. Breast milk has antibodies that help fight against diseases and lowers the risk of the child contracting disease such as Asthma, ear infection and allergies.
Health Benefits of Breastfeeding to Mothers.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of, Breast cancer, prevent endometrial, ovarian and cervical cancers. It also greatly helps the body of the pregnant woman to return to its earlier shape faster and also plays a very important role in the contraction of the uterus after delivery to control Post Partum Hemorrhage (PPH).
- Breastfeeding the babies also delay the return of fertility and thus provide a natural gap between subsequent pregnancies.
- It also develops a special bonding between the mother and the baby.
- It is cheaper than buying formular
Human milk has nutritional, immunological, and developmental benefits for the child as well as physiological and emotional benefits for the mother.
Women with covid-19 can breastfeed if they so wish to do so. They should:
- Practice respiratory hygiene and wear a nose mask.
- Wash hands before and after touching the baby and routinely clean and disinfect surfaces.
From the Desk of KSPHCDA MCH FP.
“Mothers have been naturally endowed with what it takes to breastfeed their infants immediately after delivery. So I encourage Mothers to adequately breastfeed their babies adhering to the prescribed exclusive breastfeeding of 6 months. I also urge fathers/Husbands to give every support to exclusive breastfeeding practices”.
Dr Abubakar Yakubu