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Stakeholders urged to make case for exclusive breastfeeding

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DEVELOPMENT Communications Network (DevComs) has stressed the need for all stakeholders to create awareness on the benefits of breastfeeding to the child, mother, father and community to increase in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding.

   Disclosing this in a statement from Head of Operations, DevComs, Akinlolu Akinpelumi  to mark the on-going World Breastfeeding Week, the organisation noted that a conducive environment and support, including a child-friendly work environment, with a dedicated nursing room for nursing mothers, remains very important to make breastfeeding convenient and enjoyable.

  “The 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (2018 NDHS) states that child mortality accounts for 52% of all under-five deaths. The child mortality rate is 69 deaths per 1,000 children surviving to age 12 months, while the overall under-five mortality rate is 132 deaths per 1,000 live births. 51 per cent of all deaths among children under age five in Nigeria take place before a child’s first birthday, with 30% occurring during the first month of life.  Poor infant feeding practices negatively affect the growth, health and development of children, and is a major cause of mortality in infants and young children.

  “The NDHS also states that only 29 per cent of children are exclusively breastfed (EBF) from age zero to six months, leaving a deficit of 73 per cent, being denied the right and by extension denied the right to survival. Development Communications Network’s Program Director, Akin Jimoh, asserts that, as the world celebrates this important and auspicious day, it is paramount to note that breast feeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of infancy is important and has many advantages. It should be a shared responsibility at all levels.

  “The government, the workplace, communities, families and all key stakeholders must make efforts to ensure needed structures and systems are in place to protect and support breastfeeding. This will aid the prevention of childhood illness and promote healthy growth and development,” the statement read.

  Jimoh further said breast milk was essential and has lots of benefits both to the mother and baby. “It supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions. Breastfed babies have healthier weights as they grow; they score higher on IQ tests. Breast milk protects against allergies, sickness, infections and obesity and is easily digested. Also, research has shown that mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer. They may find it easier to return to what they weighed before they got pregnant and it strengthens the bond with their children”.

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