From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Delta State Government has again highlighted the benefits of the practice of exclusive breastfeeding to nursing mothers and infants.
Although government has continued to stress the need for exclusive breastfeeding practices by nursing mothers, the rate has remained low at 25 per cent compliance.
Addressing a press conference in Asaba on Monday to herald this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) with the theme “Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support,” Permanent Secretary, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency (DSPHCDA), Jude Winful-Orieke, said a number of activities have been lined up to create awareness on exclusive breastfeeding.
Orieke said the agency would specifically focus on Okpe Local Government Area, where the practice is abysmally low.
“This year, the state has decided to move the celebration to Okpe LGA due to the law rate of exclusive breastfeeding practice among nursing mothers in Okpe LGA, with several activities happening across the state.
“There shall be baby show competition and award of prizes at the grand finale.
“This is an opportunity to encourage all nursing mothers to engage, support and promote breastfeeding in the communities and save lives of our dear children,” he said.
He said exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding were key interventions for improving child survival, potentially saving the lives of over 20 per cent of children under five years.
Among other socio-medical benefits of the practice, Orieke said breastfeeding is cost effective and provide high quality energy and nutrients to the young child.
He added that the practice enhances mental development; enhances child welfare; eliminates gender preference in feeding decisions; reduces maternal postpartum blood loss; and decreases risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.