By Dike Onwuamaeze
The infant formula (baby food) market in Nigeria has been projected to reach N200 billion in 2030.
This projection was given by the Deputy Director, Food Safety and Applied Directorate Division, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mrs. Eva Edwards, during a recent Webinar organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Arise and Thrive Initiative (ATI), to mark the World Breastfeeding Week 2020 with the theme “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet.
Edwards, warned that the growth in the infant market should be discouraged to avert its environmental challenges to the society through waste and pollution.
A Professor of Maternal and Child Nutrition, Department of Family Nutrition and Consumer Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Beatrice Ogunba, stated that mothers who are COVID-19 positive should breastfeed their babies skin-to-skin without any fear of infecting their babies with the disease.
Ogunba, who is also a member of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), stated that breastfeeding mothers should not entertain “fear about breastfeeding because there is no link between the transference of COVID-19 and breast feeding.”
She added that breastfeeding has proved effective against infectious diseases because it distils immune system by direct transference of anti-bodies from the mother to the child.
“All a mother needs to breastfeed her baby is to follow the protocols of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which are the washing of hands with soap for 20 seconds in running water. Secondly, the breastfeeding mother must make sure that all the surfaces that she might touch are disinfected regularly.
“But if water is not available, the breastfeeding mother should use hand sanitiser before having contact with her child.
“Even in the case of a mother that is infected with COVID-19, all the mother needs to do to feed her baby is to follow all the protocols.
“If the mother is too sick to breastfeed, she can express the breast milk with her hand that has been washed properly or the breast milk pump. But she must use a dedicated breast milk pump,” she added.
The Director of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Anas-Kolo, advised mothers to breastfeed babies within the first hour of their birth.
Ansa-Kolo, stated that mothers that embraced exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria have progressed from less than two per cent in 2000 to 29 per cent currently.