Niger State Commissioner of Health, Dr Mustapha Jibrin says the state would scale up the campaign on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding targeting young girls and prospective mothers.
Jibrin said at a press conference in Minna to mark the 2018 Breastfeeding Week that the effort was to further reduce infant and child mortality rate in the state.
August 1 to August 7 is celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week annually with the 2018 theme as, `Breastfeeding the Foundation of Life’.
“I want to state here that breastfeeding is one of the most effective way to ensure child health and survival due to its numerous benefits.
Despite the fact that breast milk is the best nourishment for a child globally, only about 40 per cent under six months of age were exclusively breast fed according to recent WHO 2018 Report,” he said.
Jibrin noted that as simple as breast milk is, many children are being denied access to breast milk due to ignorance, socio- cultural myths and beliefs.
He said that many mothers have been misinformed that infant formula was the equivalent of breastfeeding, while some mothers still consider it embarrassing to breastfeed their babies in public.
The commissioner disclosed that the state had domesticated the National Breastfeeding Policy, with the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency leading the implementation of the policy.
“I want to reiterate that our secondary health facilities and all Primary Healthcare Centres where antenatal and deliveries are conducted are baby friendly,” he added.
Jibrin advised the state health care agency to strengthen existing women support groups in the efforts to overcome the myths and illusions associated with breastfeeding.
“No woman should feel embarrassed carrying out the role of motherhood but rather breastfeeding should be celebrated as divine gift of God to the child.
“It is pertinent to note that strengthening basic activity like breastfeeding can lead to attaining Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.