NIGERIA. Abuja: As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) from 1-7 August, the country’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has reiterated the need to advance the rate of exclusive breastfeeding to meet up with the 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) target of achieving 50 per cent exclusive breastfeeding.
Ehanire who made this known through Minister of State for Health, Joseph Ekumankama, in Abuja during the ministerial launch of the 2022 WBW, added that there is a need for “Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond, the introduction of nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods from six months”.
Ehanire, therefore, called on the government at all levels to queue into the plan by training health professionals with the required knowledge, skills and information needed for the success of the 2025 target.
Health professionals have a vital role to play in supporting women to breastfeed and to do this effectively, they need appropriate knowledge, such as knowledge of the health outcomes associated with different methods of infant feeding.
They also need knowledge of the physiological process of lactation, as well as a positive, non-judgmental attitude and effective communication and practical support skills, Ehanire noted.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s WBW, “Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support”, The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Talen said that the objective of the event is to further widen the knowledge of the public, especially women about the needed knowledge, skills and attitude every woman needs for adequate breastfeeding.
Talen, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Women Development, Christine Oliko, called for maximum support and investment in the aspect of exclusive breastfeeding to meet up with the 50 per cent target of 2025.
Aim of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)
WBW aimed at highlighting the benefits of breastfeeding to the health and welfare of babies and maternal health, focusing on good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security. It also encourages breastfeeding and improves infant health around the world.
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