Delta Steps Up Campaign on Benefits of Exclusive Breastfeeding
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
As part of activities for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), the Delta State Government has reiterated the invaluable benefits of exclusive breastfeeding practice to nursing mothers and infants.
While expressing dismay that the rate has remained low at 25 per cent compliance despite its efforts to encourage exclusive breastfeeding practices among nursing mothers in Delta, the state government said that it was determined to reverse the trend.
This formed part of issues highlighted at a media event held in Asaba, the state capital, for the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week with the theme: ‘Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’.
Permanent Secretary, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency (DSPHCDA), Dr. Jude Winful-Orieke, noted that a number of activities have been deliberately chosen in order to increase awareness on the health and economic benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
This year, the Delta primary healthcare agency will focus on Okpe Local Government Area, where the practice is very low.
Winful-Orieke said, “This year, the state has decided to move the celebration to Okpe Local Government Area due to the law rate of exclusive breastfeeding practice among nursing mothers in Okpe LGA, with several activities happening across the state to create awareness on exclusive breastfeeding.
“There shall also be baby show competition and award of prizes at the grand finale.
“This is an opportunity to encourage all nursing mothers to engage, support and promote breastfeeding in the communities and save lives of our dear children.”
He said exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding were key interventions for improving child survival, potentially saving the lives of over 20 per cent of children under five years.
“Among other socio-medical benefits of the practice, breastfeeding is cost effective and provides high quality energy and nutrients to the young child.
“Moreover, the practice enhances mental development and general child welfare; eliminates gender preference in feeding decisions; reduces maternal postpartum blood loss; and decreases risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis,” he stated.
UNICEF plays a pivotal role in working with other stakeholders to sustain the trajectory of “raising public awareness for support to exclusive breastfeeding of children with only breast milk without water for first six months, that is, from 0-6 months.”
The annual WBW commenced on the 1st of August and will end on 7th August, with theme, ‘Step up for breastfeeding: Educate and Support’ with UNICEF and partners in Nigeria and globally are collaborating to sufficiently raise awareness along this theme lines and, at the same time, galvanise support and hold stakeholders accountable.