ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Health Report) – The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole has urged all stakeholders in the health sector to intensify the campaign for exclusive breastfeeding. He made the called lately while briefing the press and flagging off the 2018 World Breast Feeding Week in Abuja.
Adewole called on mothers to feed their babies with breast milk only, especially within the first 6 months of their lives as children breastfed exclusively hardly became sick.
“I must point out that a breastfed child has been provided ideal nutrition as a contributor to his healthy growth and development, that child is protected from incidence and severity of infectious diseases which can result to low morbidity and mortality. Exclusive breastfeeding helps the post-partum mother’s womb to return to normal shape, her chance of having breast and ovarian cancers are reduced and it contributes to an increase in the space between pregnancies, and her health status is improved considerably before her next pregnancy,” he said.
He intensified that healthy babies enable families to save through reduction in hospital expenditure and the returns could be utilized for other needs in the family.
In her promise of commitment to the support, protection and promotion of optimal breastfeeding in Nigeria, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed described breastfeeding as the simplest and least expensive means of meeting the nutritional needs of new born babies. She added that initiating breastfeeding within the first hours reduces the rate of neonatal mortality by 22%.
Zainab called for harmonization of all efforts by the different stakeholders on exclusive breastfeeding so as to achieve the set target of 50% exclusive breastfeeding by 2025.
“The Ministry of Budget and National Planning as part of its mandate to harmonize all food and nutrition intervention in Nigeria, will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and other sister Ministries, Departments and Agencies to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding practices in Nigeria,” she intensified.
The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Wondi Alemu represented by Andrew Mbewe said that breastfeeding had been identified as a very important aspect of human life. He announced that the theme of this year’s celebration is “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life.”