The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) has urged more mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for infants.
According to the NGO, the call became necessary following new findings by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which reported that less than half the numbers of infants around the world under the age of six months are breastfed exclusively.
A statement by WBFA said, “In Nigeria alone, 98% of new mothers, initiate breastfeeding. However, by six months, only 25% of them are still exclusively breastfeeding.”
The Foundation released findings of its Global and National Policy Call, ahead of the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2017 which have demonstrated that midwives are crucial and well placed to support mothers’ breastfeed thereby creating a healthy community.
The statement added: “midwives by virtue of their role in community are accountable health professionals who work in partnership with women to throughout pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.”
Under its midwifery-centred MamaCare Antenatal and Postnatal Education Program launched in 2015 for mothers across Nigeria, WBFA organises monthly, fortnightly and weekly sessions for mothers in Lagos and Kwara states as well as the Federal Capital Territory to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH+N) outcomes.
According to the WBFA, during these sessions, midwives teach mothers how they can successfully breastfeed as with new skills. The midwives also support mothers who have difficulties getting it right with breastfeeding.
“One of our main focus areas is teaching mothers during pregnancy how they should breastfeed; the correct positioning; for how long; and that they should initiate breastfeeding within the first 30 minutes of giving birth,” the statement said.
In support of the Global Breastfeeding Coalition’s Call to Action Priorities, WBFA founder, H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki, unveiled plans to take its best practices to scale in more Nigerian states.
She said, “To tackle the critically important problem of poor nutrition among infants and young children in Nigeria, we have assembled a world-class team that is as diverse as the issue at hand.
“We will research, design, develop, implement, monitor and document strategies, approaches, and activities, including evidence-based, creative communications, targeted at our audiences, that will overcome barriers to early and exclusive breastfeeding, improve the diets and frequency of meals in young children in Kaduna and Lagos states and, importantly, demonstrate that our approach is replicable and scalable across Nigeria,” she noted.
The Foundation advised that scaling up breastfeeding could annually prevent approximately 800,000 deaths of children under the age of 5 years.
Daily Trust News