By Ibrahim Wuyo, Kaduna
As the world celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, Save the Children International has called for increased support to, and protection of, mothers as well as awareness creation for an optimal exclusive breastfeeding practice in Nigeria.”
Exclusive breastfeeding is the best source of nourishment for infants and young children, and a proven lifesaving strategy that helps protect children against several common childhood illnesses, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia
Kunle Olawoyin, Media and Communications Manager, Save the Children International Nigeria, said in a statement on Monday, that
breastfeeding saves lives.
” It is one of the cost-effective interventions for the prevention of deaths in children under five years old.
Colostrum, the first milk a mother produces, is the most potent natural immune system booster known to science; lactating mothers are encouraged to give it to their babies immediately after delivery.
The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, (starting from conception to age 2) is very important for optimal physical, mental and cognitive growth, health and development; breastfeeding is the first and significant step in ensuring the cognitive development of children.”
“The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent related World Health Assembly Resolutions recommends that marketing should be guided to ensure breastfeeding of infants and young children aren’t discouraged and the standards and recommendations for breastfeeding should be upheld.”
“Save the Children International, Nigeria joins the world to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week 2021 and urges the implementation of policies that promote, protect and support exclusive breastfeeding and optimal breastfeeding practices, which is key to improved child survival, development, and contributes to Nigeria’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“The World Breastfeeding Week (1st-7th August 2021) aims to highlight the huge benefits that breastfeeding can bring to both the health and welfare of babies, as well as a wider push for maternal health, focusing on good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security. The annual celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week aims at increasing awareness on the health and wellbeing outcomes of breastfeeding on infants, young children, mothers, families and the society at large. “
“The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Protect Breastfeeding, A Shared Responsibility with the slogan for Nigeria, “Join Hands! Support Exclusive Breastfeeding”. This brings another opportunity for the collaboration of various stakeholders and interest groups including fathers, religious/traditional rulers and private sector to contribute to improving Nigeria’s Exclusive Breastfeeding rates in the country.”
“The occasion also brings the chance to support health care workers and providers, and community workers and volunteers to be trained adequately to provide breastfeeding counselling, correctly enlighten caregivers on child nutrition while delivering psychosocial support to pregnant women, women and adolescent mothers with infants and young children and adolescent girls, thus integrating mental health & psychosocial support into all Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) counselling.”
“Economic benefits of breastfeeding to families and society at large cannot be overemphasized. Through our programmes, we will continue to support breastfeeding mothers and encourage their families to support them. We are advocating for governments at all levels to create enabling environments for lactating mothers by building crèches in workplaces and implementing policies that will support exclusive breastfeeding for six months” said Shannon Ward, Acting Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria.”
“Dr Adaeze Oramalu-Ogwuche, Acting Head of Health and Nutrition, Save the Children International Nigeria said, “Breastfeeding week is one of the greatest outreach vehicles for the promotion of optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices to another network of influencers (fathers, religious/traditional rulers, institutions and Private sector) as they contribute to the exclusive breastfeeding rate in Nigeria. It is very important to continue to highlight the importance of breastfeeding and our responsibility, encourage and promote exclusive breastfeeding and improve the health of babies and mothers across the world and in Nigeria’’.
“Save the Children International calls everyone to remember, support and take action to achieve the goals of the week: i.e., improving the health of infant children and promoting, protecting, and supporting the rights of women to breastfeed anywhere and at any time; increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save many lives every year, the majority being children under six months.”