By Rotimi Ojomoyela
ADO EKITI- TO prevent infant mortality and produce healthy and intelligent children, the Federal Government and the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, Thursday, charged the media and all other stakeholders to step-up public enlightenment on optimal breastfeeding of babies. The two bodies maintained that breastfeeding provides children with the healthiest start to life, adding that breastfeeding also acts as the child’s first vaccine by providing antibodies.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohummed and the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Akure, Mr. Tejinder Sadhu, gave the statement at a two-day Media Dialogue on Breastfeeding and Global Breastfeeding Collective in Ibadan, Oyo State. The media dialogue was organized by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF and UK Department for International Development as part of activities marking the world breastfeeding week.
The information and culture minister who was represented by the Assistant Director, Child Rights Information Bureau, Mr. Olumide Osanyinpeju, called on journalists to assist in educating and sensitizing the public on the need to ensure optimal breastfeeding of infants. The Minister said it has become very necessary to propagate optimal breastfeeding in the country and that government and all stakeholders must take necessary actions to propagate optimal breastfeeding.
He said,“there is need for all to rise up for the propagation, as early breastfeeding can make the difference between life and death. Government alone cannot fight this cause, hence, the need for collaboration with agencies, NGOs and other partners and organizations to advocate on how best to address the issue.”
In his remarks, the UNICEF Chief of Akure Field office said this year’s edition of the annual world breastfeeding week with the theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together” was a significant event to promote breastfeeding. Tejinder said “breastfed children have at least six times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children. An exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child.”