Prominent health professionals have decried the spate of infants’ infectious diseaseses, attributing it to poor breastfeeding among nursing mothers in the country.
The experts on maternal and child care, dieticians, health workers amongst others embarked on awareness programme to stress the need for the protection of the right of the child through healthy and adequate nutrition.
This was the emphasis of an awareness talk held at the Federal Medical Centre in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, in southeast Nigeria
According to the Head of Nursing Department in the hospital, Mr Nwanyieze Mba, breastfeeding awareness was apt, as investigation carried out at the antenatal ward showed that the number of malnourished and dehydrated infant had increased from zero per cent to eighty per cent. A worrisome situation, which he said could be prevented.
Nursing mothers are therefore advised to exclusively breastfeed their children from the day of the birth to six months 8-12 times a day without adding water or any supplement.
A pediatrician, Dr. Amara Okafor, pointed out that it has been noted that about 37 per cent of mothers were not feeding their babies with breast milk, a trend which must end if Nigerian women wanted a healthy baby and a healthy future.
Mba noted that the consequences of not adhering to exclusive breastfeeding were enormous and includes high risk of bacterial contaminations in infants as well as the babies’ immunity being very low and making them vulnerable to diseases.
The breastfeeding awareness campaign is thus the key to a sustainable development and the only way to protect the right of the child.
There are evidences that breast milk prevents respiratory tract infection, otitis media, ear infection in children, gastro-intestinal infections and can also help prevent breast cancer in women.