Exclusive breastfeeding has been identified as one of the potent ways of lowering the risk of breast cancer in women.
Against this backdrop, expectant and nursing mothers in Nigeria have been reminded of the significance of the breastfeeding.
This was the unanimous position of health experts and stakeholders at a programme tagged- “Hope for Expectant Mothers,” an event organised by the Hope for Women Foundation, (HOFOWEM) in Lagos.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris stressed the need for expectant mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of their baby’s life, for the good of the baby and the mother especially.
Dr Idris also advised women to always plan ahead for pregnancy by seeking medical advice to forestall and prevent danger signs during pregnancy.
“Many of us don’t take it seriously, the latest study now shows that breastfeeding enhances the growth of the child and more importantly too, women who breastfeed exclusively have lower chances of getting cancer of the breast,” the Commissioner reiterated.
On her part, the State Director, National population Commission, Mrs Olusola Osideko, who also buttressed the need to imbibe the culture of exclusive breastfeeding, harped on the importance of birth certificate as soon as a child is born.
Mrs Osideko described birth certificates as the baby’s first right in life. In a keynote address, wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, noted that women had key roles to play in the health-for-all aspiration of the State to achieve zero infant and maternal mortality rates.
Mrs Ambode urged pregnant women to complement the efforts of government at achieving zero infant/maternal mortality rates by embracing healthy and hygienic lifestyle.
Often times infants are at risk of infections, diarrhoea, poor growth and many common diseases associated with unhygienic habits, as a result, such expectant mothers must make hygienic living a habit such as simple washing of hands constantly.
“The act of washing hands is so simple yet we do not see it as a game changing solution, they are so elementary that we frequently forget they can save lives, basic personal hygiene and good sanitary conduct begins with hand-washing; so it is an important message to take home for the young ones, let them know the many benefits of that simple act, tell them it prevents infections, keeps them neat, keeps them healthy and happy all the time,” Mrs Ambode noted.
Speaking on her passion for women and children, Mrs Ambode explained that her pet project- HOFOWEM remained a foundation established with the intention of uplifting the welfare of widows, children and aged women.
She said her vision was to transform their lives, put smiles on their faces, give them hope and make life more meaningful for them.
“This event is significant for me as a mother, a parent and as a Nigerian, the programme is not just about supporting good hygiene and healthy habits during pregnancy and after delivery, but it is also about safeguarding the future of our children right from infancy,” she said.
Over 200 expectant mothers were given delivery kits and baby care products. HOFOWEM Coordinator, Ms Oyefunke Adeleke lauded Mrs Ambode for her kindness to women and children in the State, adding that the
programme was one of the numerous initiatives in the current dispensation in Lagos State.