• Monday, June 17, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Enugu trains 1875 health workers on important of exclusive breastfeeding

Breastfeeding

Enugu state government has trained about one thousand, eight hundred and seventy five (1,875) health workers, volunteers, from the 17 local governments through the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHDA) to ensure effective sensitization on the important of exclusive breast feeding in rural communities.

The 2020 world breastfeeding day which was flagged off in the state by Her Excellency, Monica Ugochi Ugwuanyi  through Press Release had the theme, “Support Breastfeeding for a healthier planet”.

In an interview with our correspondent, the state Baby Friendly Initiative coordinator  Pauline Enenwali,  said that breast milk is complete and an ideal food for a new born baby, that  Nursing mothers should practice early initiation of breastfeeding with their providers within one hour of delivery, and exclusive breastfeeding from birth to six months (0-6months) without giving the baby water, other liquids or solid.

She also advised that the nursing mother  should introduce adequate complementary foods in six months while continuing to breastfeed the baby up to two years (2 years) and  beyond.

“Breastfeeding does not in anyway involve the process of production as in Breast Milk Substitute (BMS) and the illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade that affects forests, degrading  land and water ecosystems which leads to climate change. Breast Milk being the pivot and the first food in life with it’s feeding should be followed to mitigate environmental degradation. In this COVID-19 era, nursing mothers should wash their hands frequently with soap and water and wear their masks while feeding their baby”.  She said.

According to the baby friendly initiative coordinator, the effects of exclusive breastfeeding on the baby will show the mothers that breast milk is unequal to other feeds they give before six months which could lead to malnutrition and predispose the baby (ies) to infection.”

Breast milk she said, has so many nutrients. Colostrum which is rich in antibodies that protects the babies from different diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory tract infections , like pneumonia, asthma, otitis media, and in later years of the child (adulthood)  breast milk protects them from cardiac diseases, hypertension, breast and ovarian cancers, oedema et cetera. Hence, “breast milk gives the baby the best start in life. It makes baby healthier, smarter,  increases the IQ of children and should be given anywhere.”

However Enenwali had cleared that the three (3) babies, out of One-hundred (100), born to Covid-19 infected mothers who recovered through exclusive breast feeding was  in Indian not in Enugu as was earlier reported.

According to her the low incidence of infection among the babies and the recovery of the three infected babies have been credited to the antibodies developed in their Mother’s womb and inherited by the babies, and the one’s passed to the babies through breast milk, which triumphed over Covid-19.

She commended UNICEF for all the support since the inception of the program till date also Her  Excellency, Monica Ugochi Ugwuanyi” for her doggedness in supporting maternal and child health services in the State and for inviting the seventeen Local Government Chairpersons to join her in championing breastfeeding in all the seventeen (17) LGAs of the State.

She said ” HIV infected mothers should be exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life and thereafter introduce complementary foods with continued Breastfeeding up to  twelve (12) months of age. Anti Retroviral drug should be provided during the period of Breastfeeding, Pregnant women should attend Antenatal care in health facilities where they should be screened and managed properly in case the person tests positive.”.