Nigerians and major stakeholders have been urged to rise up and propagate early breastfeeding to make a difference in the life of children in the country and promote national development.
The Nigerian minister of Information, Mr. Lai Muhammed, made the call at a two day “Media Dialogue on Breastfeeding and Global Breastfeeding Collective”, organized by UNICEF, in Ibadan, South West Nigeria.
He said that government can not fight the cause of breastfeeding, hence the need for multi sectoral collaboration.“Government can not fight the cause of breastfeeding. All should rise up for the propagation of cause as early breastfeeding can make a difference between life and death of a child”, he said.
The minister also called on journalists to use their media organizations in educating nursing mothers on the need for proper breastfeeding.
The Assistant Director Nutrition, Federal ministry of Health, Dr. Rekiya Idris said that Nigeria has a lot of children nutrition policies that need to be implemented for the benefits and well being of the country’s children.
She also said that on the global breastfeeding scorecard, Nigeria is in the middle,
“being in the middle is not bad, only that more needed to be done”, she stated.
The UNICEF Nutrition Expert, Mrs. Ada Ezeogu, said that health workers need to be educated on proper breastfeeding.
In her lecture titlled ‘Breastfeeding: Importance and Benefits to Children and the role of UNICEF’ she said that the introduction of water during exclusive breastfeeding hinders Nigeria’s progress to achieving global breastfeeding target.Therefore, she called on mothers, caregivers medical personnel to avoid giving babies water in the first six months after birth as the breast milk contains all the nutrients the baby needs.
Ezeogu then noted that all hands must be on deck to promote breastfeeding as lack of education on breastfeeding poses threats to the child, mother, the family and the nation at large.
She also said that the breastfeeding week 2017 which has as it’s theme ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’ aims to encourage breastfeeding globally.