Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged stakeholders to intensify efforts in raising awareness especially in rural areas on the importance of breastfeeding, which provides infants with best start to life.
Obaseki, who said this in commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Week celebrated from August 1 to 7, noted that breastfeeding is the bedrock of good nutrition and food security, and helps build the bond between mother and child.
He reiterated that breastfeeding remains a low-cost way of feeding babies, allows for healthy growth and reduces the risk of illnesses in children.
He said the theme for the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week, which is “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life,” captures the essence of breastfeeding for a child’s development, noting, “On this day, I urge mothers to ensure that they stick to the prescribed 6-month exclusive breastfeeding for babies because of its intrinsic value, which ensures bonding between mother and child, as well as its implications for nutrition and poverty reduction.”
Obaseki stressed that, “It is important to push for adherence to breastfeeding, especially in rural areas, as this will complement our efforts on immunisation and the fight against mal-nutrition.”
“We have a Food and Nutrition Committee to develop sustainable strategies to tackle the problem of malnutrition in the state, and we believe that the need to adhere to breastfeeding will be captured, for the benefit of mothers and infants in the state” he added.
He explained that the state government is setting up structures to provide access to quality health care in rural areas as 500 healthcare centres are billed to be constructed across the wards, to fast-track healthcare delivery, noting that the overall strategy is to ensure that infants and mothers have access to quality health care services.
On the commemoration of the day, World Health Organisation (WHO) maintained that “Establishing exclusive breastfeeding – feeding infants nothing but breastmilk for the first six months of life — helps young children grow, preventing undernutrition, promoting brain development, and reducing the risk that children will become overweight.
“Breastfeeding is also a newborn’s first vaccine, providing vital antibodies and an immunity boost. From the earliest moments of a child’s life, breastfeeding can mean the difference between life and death. Putting newborns to the breast within the first hour of life safeguards against newborn deaths. In fact, improving breastfeeding practices could save the lives of 823,000 children under age five every year,” the health body said.