By Mary Agidi
In commemoration of the year 2017 World Breastfeeding week, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has identified water giving to infants before the first Six months as a major barrier to achieving exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) in Nigeria.
Mrs Ada Ezeogu, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF said this in a programme organized by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF in Ibadan to mark breastfeeding week which covers August 1-7.
In a report of the event made available to The Hope, Ezeogu said breast milk contained about 88 per cent of water, saying,” every time the baby suckles the breast, it takes its water through the breast milk.”
She noted that EBF in the country currently stood at 25 per cent, noting that Nigeria is targeting 50per cent by 2025.
Ezeogu said that EBF was one of the best investments in global health, adding that every one dollar spent on EBF generates 35 dollars in economic returns.
“Breast milk contains antibodies that help baby fight infection. It also lowers risk of respiratory track infection, urinary tract infections, ear infections among others,” she said.
The UNICEF nutritionist specialist noted that non enforcement of workplace breastfeeding policies and lack or inadequate budgetary allocation for nutrition also affects EBF.
According to her, new born babies should be breastfed within the first one hour of birth for the child to have access to colostrum.
Earlier, Minister of Information, Alh. Lai Mohammed commended UNICEF for its leading role at ensuring that breastfeeding reduces the incidence of death in new born babies.
Mohammed, represented by Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju, Assistant Director, CRIB said there was need to propagate EBF in Nigerian families.
“Through your writings, features and commentaries, you can influence community and religious leaders to support health service utilisation by constantly reiterating to their community.
“Breastfeeding will improve the health of our children and greatly benefit the community,” he said.