Lagos govt advocates exclusive breastfeeding for babies
The Lagos State Government has advocated the sustenance of exclusive breastfeeding by strengthening the capacity of stakeholders, policymakers, healthcare providers, and community influencers, to promote and support the practice across the different levels of society.
According to a statement on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye, stated this during a press briefing organised to outline planned activities of the state government to commemorate the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week.
Ogboye added that the government would continue to inform, educate and empower sector players to provide and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments.
He said: “The theme for the Year 2022 World Breastfeeding Week, ‘Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’, was carefully selected as it focuses on strengthening the capacity to protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of society. These actors make up the warm chain of breastfeeding support, and they include policymakers, healthcare providers and influencers in communities”.
The Permanent Secretary explained that exclusive breastfeeding must be undertaken from the first hour of birth up to six months of life and sustained for up to two years of age, just as complimentary feeding must commence from six months of age for optimal growth and development.
Dr. Ogboye outlined some of the strategies for creating a breastfeeding-friendly environment such as increasing public awareness of the importance of exclusive and continued breastfeeding with complementary feeding, as well as ensuring that caregivers are conversant with information to enlighten patients at all healthcare service delivery points, among other initiatives of the Lagos State Government.
“Breastfeeding prevents hunger and malnutrition in all its forms and ensures food security for babies. Breast milk is readily available, pure, safe and in the right mixture that is adequate for babies”, he said.
Noting that exclusive breastfeeding protects babies from severe complications arising from gastro-enteritis, pneumonia and other childhood killer diseases, the Permanent Secretary revealed that about 60% of under-five mortalities are largely due to malnutrition caused by poor breastfeeding practices and inadequate complementary feeding.