Three out of one hundred new born babies in Enugu state during this corona virus challenges, that tested positive of the pandemic became negative after they were placed on exclusively breastfeeding.
The Enugu state Baby Friendly Initiative coordinator, Pauline Enenwali from the state primary health care development Agency, disclosed this during the 2020 breastfeeding week flagged off in Enugu on 5 of August . with the theme “Supporting Breastfeeding for a Healthier Plant”.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent ,Enenwali said, that alone was enough to explain to the nursing mothers and society at large the important of exclusive breastfeeding of any new born child from 0 to 6 months, with breast milk.
“Among 100 women that delivered in Enugu within this COVID-19 pandemic, 100 children that were born only three was affected by corona virus, but because they were on exclusive breastfeeding, they tested Negative ,all cured, this will tell you the important of exclusive breastfeeding. This is because the breastmilk contains antibody in great quantity that protects these babies from different types of diseases like respiratory track infections, diarrhoea and even ear infected problems among others”. She said.
“Breastfeeding is the best way to give all children everywhere the healthiest start in life.”.
She commended United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for always supporting the state in all its child health programmes particularly in the areas of breastfeeding to prevent early childhood diseases.
“In fact UNICEF has been wonderful in our state since 2009 till date they have been sponsoring many of our activities.”
According to the Baby friendly initiative coordinator, Enugu state government has taken some measures,supported by the first lady of the state, Her Excellency Monica Ugwuanyi to ensure that all the nursing mothers and women of child bearing age, traditional rulers, president generals of communities etc, are sensitized on the important of exclusive breastfeeding in all the 17 local government areas.
About 1875 health workers and volunteers she said, have been trained especially on this COVID-19 pandemic in all the 17 local government areas of the state. They would step it down to communities for every one to be equipped with fact and important of breast milk, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic and what they should be taking to balance their food.
According to her, breast milk contains colostrum and all the essential elements that every child needs. These include vitamins like Vitamin A which is essential for the child to boast the immunity that can lasts for at least six months. It protects the child within that early childhood.
“It is very cheap, it is affordable and available. You don’t need to spend money to get it. So it has a lot of advantages over formula or artificial milk that women are going for and that is why we are advocating.,for it”. She noted.
She warned that no kind of sickness should prevent any mother from giving breast milk to her child ,even a HIV-positive mother who has been placed on HIV drugs should also breast-feed her baby as long as she is taking her drugs. Every woman is free to use breast milk from day one to 6 months without giving the child water unless otherwise advised by a doctor due to a medical condition.
However most nursing mothers in civil and public service talked to by our correspondent appealed to Enugu state government to kindly extended the number of months given for maternity leave in the state from three months to six months to enable them practice exclusive breastfeeding.