Health  

How to improve breastfeeding rates, reduce infant mortality in Nigeria, by experts


In recognition of World Breastfeeding Week, Medela breast pump announced its new partnership with The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) to improve breastfeeding support and resources in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in Nigeria. Medela is one of the breast pumps recommended by doctors and used in hospitals.

As part of this partnership, Medela and The Wellbeing Foundation Africa will work together to improve the support offered to new mothers in Nigeria by delivering NICU-specific education and training on the value of human milk and how to build sufficient milk supply for long-term breastfeeding. This work will involve frontline healthcare workers, nonprofit organisations and government agencies.

Founder and president of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Toyin Ojora Saraki, said: “Medela’s long history as a global player in breastfeeding research, products, technology and innovation is the perfect partner for Wellbeing Foundation Africa in our quest to improve Nigeria’s prevalence of breastfeeding and our focus on NICU support.

“Ensuring new mothers are wholly supported to breastfeed is not only critical for the health and wellbeing of the baby: it can be linked to all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

Nigeria ranks 6th worst country in the world for infant mortality and complications due to prematurity, which is the leading cause of death. In children younger than five years, 47 per cent of deaths occur in the first 28 days of life, many of them are preventable and can be addressed through improved nutrition with mother’s milk. Today Nigeria has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world with only 17 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfeeding their children through six months. To improve these statistics, the United Nations set a global goal to improve breastfeeding rates to 50 per cent by the year 2030. Medela hopes to contribute to the solution through this partnership with the WBFA. As a supporting member of the Global UN Compact and the UN’s Every Woman, Every Child initiative, Medela is committed to partnering with organisations to improve breastfeeding rates globally to meet the 2030 Breastfeeding goals. Medela’s new global corporate social responsibility program, Medela Cares, is dedicated to improving the lives of moms, babies and patients through education and support, as well as through technologies, research and services.

“Research shows us that breast milk is critical for growth and overall health for newborns and is a low-cost and highly effective intervention that can prevent infant death,” said Annette Brüls, CEO of Medela worldwide. “We are thrilled to partner with The Wellbeing Foundation Africa as part of our commitment to the UN’s Every Woman, Every Child movement to better the lactation care provided to mothers and ultimately improve the infant feeding and health outcomes in Nigeria.”

The partnership will commence with a webinar on August 7, 2020 about Breastfeeding in High Risk Countries, a panel discussion with Her Excellency Toyin Saraki, Founder WBFA, Annette Brüls, CEO of Medela, Dr. Prof. Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, and Rita Momoh, lead midwife at WBFA, moderated by Tolu Adeleke, founder of Tolu The Midwife Healthcare Solutions and CEO of Maternity Hub (Nigeria). This group will discuss the need to address infant mortality and share how midwives and mothers can be supported to champion breastfeeding efforts in high-risk countries such as Nigeria.

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