Group advocates for sustained exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria

Gloria Essien

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As the world marks it World Breastfeeding Week, A Nigerian civil society group known as civil society scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria ( CS-SUNN) has called for a sustained public enlightenment campaign  to create awareness on the importance breastfeeding .

The first week of August is world breastfeeding week.

 

The week is usually used to educate, inform and enlighten women on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding across the globe towards attaining 50% EBF by the year 2025.

 

The civil society scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria – CS-SUNN, has over the years been in the forefront of child nutrition, particularly on Exclusive Breastfeeding.

 

At a media roundtable on Exclusive Breastfeeding, in Abuja, the wife of the Kaduna state governor, Aisha El-rufai, said all hands must be on deck to give exclusive breastfeeding the attention it deserves.

 

She urged mothers in Nigeria to take exclusive breastfeeding seriously for the benefit of the child, the family and the nation at large.

 

Aisha El-Rufai reiterated that exclusive breastfeeding helps children stay healthy.

 

“I therefore use this opportunity to call on mothers to exclusively breastfed their children for the the first six months of life and practice early initiation of breastfeeding for their new borns within the first thirty to sixty minutes of giving birth to their children. By doing these, we stand a chance of saving the lives of our children. And we save them from illnesses and deaths due to infections and preventable diseases”.  El-Rufai said.

 

She however said that Nigeria, especially Kaduna state is beginning to record some progress as more women now realise the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.

 

The Chairman of Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, CS-SUNN, Dr. David Olayemi, said that the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding can not be over emphasized.

 

He said that Nigeria needs to create an enabling environment for working class women to breastfed at work places.

 

Dr. Olayemi also noted that scientifically, the babies stomach is very small and it is only breast milk that fill it.

 

“In the first six months of life,.the baby’s stomach is only big enough to accommodate what the mother can give through breast milk. And breast milk contains everything including water. Some people believe that when you eat, you must drink water but the truth is that God has provided breast milk on such a way that it contains everything including water. So, there is no need to introduce anything else,” Dr Olayemi said.

 

He added that mothers, babies and the society benefits from the gains of exclusive breastfeeding.
On her part, the executive secretary of CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka said that there are various policies in Nigeria on nutrition which need to be implement.

 

She pointed out that exclusive breastfeeding has huge benefits.

 

“The economic benefits are there. When a child is exclusively breastfed, you don’t go buying fomula, you don’t go buying even the complementary food because at six months the child does not need complementary food. You safe the the money for something else. As long as the mother eats well and is well rested and supported, she is capable of producing enough breast milk for even more than one baby at a time. The child does not get sick, so the issue of taking the child to the hospital and paying hospital bills is not there. That money is saved for other family needs. We should all join hands to promote exclusive breastfeeding,” Eluaka said.

 

During his presentation, the chairman, Federal Capital Territory Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Emmanuel Ogbeche, urged CS-SUNN to engage more media executives for increased awareness on exclusive breastfeeding.

 

He added that women, especially in the grassroots need to be reached and that could be achieved through the media.

 

L.Nasir