Judex Okoro, Calabar
Cross River State Government has advocated exclusively breastfeeding to guarantee optimum health for infants and the mothers.
Speaking at this year’s World Breastfeeding Week in Calabar with the theme, ‘Empower the child; enable breast feeding by government’, Primary Healthcare Development Agency Permanent Secretary, Mark Uma Echeghe, said the practice of exclusive breastfeeding will mitigate a number of medical challenges associated with child bearing.
Echeghe said: “Studies over time show that children who were exclusively breast fed for over six months have better lives compared to others.
“This is crucial because Post-Partum Depression Disease is avoided if the woman breastfeeds the child.”
Also, Director of Public Health in the Ministry of Health, Iwara Iwara, explained that exclusive breastfeeding “contains several nutrients which are of the basic requirements for the development of the baby, protects against common diseases and also ensures the child has a high intelligence quotient.
“In addition to this, the practice of exclusive breastfeeding on the part of the mother reduces the risk of cancer occurrences, less delivery bleeding, less obesity, stress reduction as well as affording a cost effective family planning method,” he said.
On his part, Rev. Ubong Eyo a representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said God ordained breast as a natural food for the child and contains all the nutrients a child needs.
He said: “Feeding a child with any other food outside the breast milk is violence against the child as it is not consistent with God’s plan to afford the child good health and admonished mothers not to deny the child of the natural gift.”