Dr Moses Ohamaeme, Cluster Coordinator representing the World Health Organisation and the United Nations agencies in Anambra, says that a baby who is exclusively breastfed can also fall sick.
Ohamaeme made the assertion at the ongoing 2022 World Breastfeeding Week at Maternal and Child Healthcare Centre, Amawbia, Awka, on Friday.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is observed from August 1 to 7 every year.
It was first started in 1992 to promote the benefits of breastfeeding on both mother and the baby.
The theme for this year’s commemoration – “Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support.
” He said: “Exclusive breastfeeding protects your baby from all kinds of illnesses, but sometimes your baby gets sick anyway.
“It is still possible that your baby will come down with a cold or infection.
And if that happens, make sure you take the baby to the hospital for proper diagnosis and treatment.
“Mothers must make sure that they give their babies prescribed medication while they continue to breastfeed.
Medication does not deter exclusive breastfeeding.
” Also speaking, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said that exclusive breastfeeding would help eradicate childhood malnutrition in the state.
“Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both moms and babies.
For mothers, breastfeeding reduces their risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
“For babies, breast milk contains nutrients your baby needs for growth and development.
It also protects your baby against infections and diseases.
“I urge mothers to see breastfeeding as a duty because it is the most effective measures for ensuring a child’s health and survival,” she said.
According to the World Health Organisation and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), baby should be breastfed within an hour of birth and this should continue for the first six months of the child’s Life and given no other food or drinks, including water.
The Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA), says that the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the state increased from 17 per cent in 2018 to 27 per cent in 2022.Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, Executive Secretary of the agency made the disclosure at the opening of the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) at the Maternal and Child Health Centre, Amawbia in Awka, on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that WBW is celebrated on Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 every year, to raise awareness and galvanise actions to promote exclusive breastfeeding.
The theme for this year’s commemoration – ‘Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’.
Ezenyimulu said that Anambra recorded an increase in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding due to intensified awareness and counseling programmes at health facilities.
“The figure of 27 per cent is still low and below the national target of 50 per cent by 2025.“We are calling on residents to become advocates of exclusive breastfeeding and support mothers to practice optimal breastfeeding.
“The practice of exclusive breast feeding will ensure the provision of vital and adequate nutrients required for healthy and maximal growth and development as well as eradication of childhood malnutrition in the state, ” she said.
Also speaking, Dr Afam Obidike, state’s Commissioner for Health, said that the efforts of the current administration were geared towards the promotion of maternal and child survival strategies.
Obidike urged fathers to support their breastfeeding wives as exclusive breastfeeding could be exhausting for mothers.
“A mother needs to be psychologically, physically and emotionally balanced to breastfeed optimally.
Therefore, fathers should be there to provide all that the woman needs,” he said.
In his remarks Dr Moses Ohamaeme, Cluster Coordinator representing the World Health Organisation and United Nations agencies, said that exclusively breastfed children become healthy and productive adults.
According to him, such children are protected from severe complications arising from childhood killer diseases.