By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA – The Kogi State Ministry of Health has called on nursing mothers to ensure adequate breastfeeding for their children, saying exclusive and adequate breastfeeding is a panacea for a healthier nation.
The State Coordinator, Maternal and Child Health program, Mrs Ajakaiye Sadat stated this in Lokoja on Wednesday at the sideline of this year World Breastfeeding Week; with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, calling for national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education, and general welfare of children.
Mrs Sadat said that adequate breastfeeding had, over the years, prevented several childhood diseases and brought lifelong positive benefits especially in the risk reduction for breast and ovarian cancers.
She described breast milk as free and natural food, that formed a critical part of a sustainable food system.
“Breastfeeding is key to all child, exclusive breastfeeding is paramount. A child giving an opportunity for exclusive and adequate breastfeeding lives a healthy and happy life. They grow better, have high IQ, hardly fall sick, do well in life, don’t suffer retardation, nor stunted growths. They are far from malnutrition.”
Mrs. Sadat, however, said the state has scaled up its sensitization program for adequate breastfeeding especially in rural areas; which had yielded a positive result, “Last year, we kick-started a program: ‘Infant and Young Child Feeding’, with major target on exclusive breastfeeding because, we realized that our people do not value exclusive breastfeeding.
“Within a week they (mother’s) introduced paps, local herbs because they felt breast milk will not be enough for the child. But breast milk has enough water. Breast milk is free of charge, always available in the right temperature. God made breast milk perfect.”
The ministry called on religious leaders to support the sensitization for adequate breastfeeding, said a child needs to be breastfed for two years.
She said young mothers should be tutored on proper way to breastfeed, as the positioning of babies to the breast is a challenge to some, “It’s ignorance for women to allowed fashion, or their husband to discourage them from giving adequate breastfeeding.”
She also urged mother’s not to be too attached to use of feeding bottles in feeding their wards for breast milk or artificial foods, saying the use is becoming unhygienic.
The theme of the World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. And it is marked every year between August 1 and 7 to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and infants.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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