ByÂ Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”CHIEF Medical Director of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Mike Ibadin, has canvassed the creation of awareness of the benefits accruing to mothers who breast feed their children.
He also described breast feeding as the safest, most suitable and economical method of infant feeding.
Besides, he said that breast feeding played a significant role in the maintenance of the health of both children and their mothers, even as it encourages mother-child bonding and strengthen the family.
Prof. Ibadin, who spoke in Benin Wednesday while declaring open â€˜The World Breast Week Celebration in UBTHâ€™, said that breast feeding, if adequately practised, reduces the morbidity and mortality rates in infantsÂ who are exclusively breastfed than in those who were only partially or never breastfed.
He revealed that a National Survey (NDHS) carried out in 1990 revealed that only two percent of infants under the age of one month were exclusively breastfed, while 57 percentÂ received water in addition to breast milk and as many as 38 percentÂ were already receiving complementary feeding.
He recalled that in the nineties, exclusive breast feeding rates increased in the country, with support from the UNICEF and other donor agencies who were continuously training staff, certifying hospitals, and health centresâ€™ baby friendly facilities.
â€œThe whole country was caught with the fever of baby friendliness until UNICEF gradually withdrew in the early 2000s.”