Lorine Emenike and Tina Amanda
Rivers State government has said it is committed to creating an enabling work environment including social structures that support mothers during exclusive breastfeeding.
The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Caroline Wali, who disclosed this while flagging off the 2019 World Breastfeeding Week celebration, with the theme: “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding” said the target set by the World Health Assembly calls for 50 percent exclusive breastfeeding of children come 2025.
According to her, breastfeeding provides adequate food and nutrient from the first day of life to two years and beyond, adding that breastfeeding is the most cost effective way of feeding infants and young children in the society.
She said: “Breastfeeding is the most single cost effective way of feeding infants and young children in our society. It provides adequate food and nutrients from the first day of life up to two years and beyond.
“Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is known to yield tremendous health benefits for both mother and baby. It provides the baby with critical nutrients and protection from diseases such as pneumonia, leukaemia, obesity, diabetics and can help to reduce the mother’s risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer”
She stressed further that critical activities such as market, church, community sensitization and media appearances will be carried out to strengthen stakeholders consensus on empowering parents to enable breastfeeding.
“During the week, government and major stakeholders including the print and electronic media are expected to carry out activities to inform and educate the public about breastfeeding, engage individuals and organizations to articulate critical activities that will protect, promote and support breastfeeding as a government policy and best practice”
“As we celebrate this year’s breastfeeding week in Rivers State, I urge you all to promote breastfeeding as a child survival strategy and empower parents to enable breastfeeding and support to create the enabling environment where mothers can breastfeed optimally”