Experts in maternity, pregnancy and child care, Bauchi State, disclosed that exclusive breastfeeding will save 800,000 children under five years old from childhood killer diseases.
Speaking at a two-day training for media champions, organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, in collaboration with Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health, PACFaH, in Kaduna, the Programme Officer PSN, Abuja office, David Akpotor, said saving 800,000 through breastfeeding will amount to 12 percent drop in child mortality in the country.
Akpotor explained that the training, which was attended by 15 media organisations, was aimed at advocating and demanding accountability in child and family health issues across PACFaH focal states of Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Lagos, Oyo and Abuja.
He further said pneumonia and diarrhea accounts for 14 percent and nine percent of under-five mortality rate in Nigeria, respectively.
It is a fact that in Nigeria, there are practices and believes about feeding newborn babies that are dangerous to the baby’s health. For instance, in some places the baby is given food or liquids, such as water with sugar or pap before the child reaches the age of 6 months.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers worldwide to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
What Are The Benefits Of Exclusive Breastfeeding?
- It provides the best nutrition for the newborn
- Is easily digested and efficiently used by the baby’s body
- Protects against infection and other illnesses e.g chest infections, meningitis, ear infections and urine infections
- Helps your baby grow and develop physically and emotionally.
- Decreases the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS).
- Protects baby from chronic tummy problems and some childhood cancers. They may also be less likely to get allergies, eczema or asthma
- Reduces the risk of obesity and may help reduce the risk of diabetes in later life
- Offers some protection against allergies
- Is cost-effective and affordable
- Promotes mother-baby bonding
- Provides the mother with a degree of contraceptive protection (though less than 100% effective) if she is exclusively breastfeeding until her first menstrual period returns after the birth
- Reduces mother’s risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer
- Reduces mother’s risk of ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life