Group to prevent 800,000 infant deaths through increase breastfeeding campaign
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), a health care non governmental organisation yesterday flagged off nationwide campaigns aimed at encouraging breastfeeding among Nigerian mothers. In a statement signed by its Global Communication Manager, Sagal Ali, the foundation said initiative was aimed at preventing deaths of estimated 800,000 infants, as breast milk remained the best infant meal that guarantees the well-being of children under the age of five.
In this way, the statement said, mothers who breastfeed regularly could be free from avoidable ailments such as breast and ovarian cancers. “The importance of breastfeeding in preventing deaths of children in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) is well recognised and documented. Scaling up breastfeeding could annually prevent approximately 800,000 deaths of children under the age of 5 years. In Nigeria alone”
The statement observed that 98percent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding; however, by six months, only 25percent of them are still exclusively breastfeeding.
It affirmed “Breast milk is the baby’s natural food, easily digested, and containing all the nutrients the baby requires for the first six months. It reduces the risk of infections and poor growth,and it is also a perfect way to bond with the baby.”
“Breastfeeding is good for the mother, too; it lowers the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Mothers who breastfeed find it easier to lose the weight gained during pregnancy,” it explained. It revealed that over the years, the health advocacy group has demonstrated that midwives were crucial and well placed to support mothers breastfeed, thereby creating a healthy community. The group’s qualified midwife lactationcounselors, Ali said in the statement, have reached over 6,000 women with approximately 718 weekly attendance across the 3 areas (Lagos State, Kwara State and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja), through prenatal and postnatal contact interventions in the MamaCare continuum of care and counsel.”
The project supported by the Wife President, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Health for Indonesia and the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, through its Founder-President, Mrs Toyin Saraki towards enthroning best health practices among mothers and newborns. The campaigns, which would be rounded off nationwide on Monday next week, is coming ahead of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW).