By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal
Ilorin – The Kwara State Government in collaboration with a Non-governmental organisation, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, have stressed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for children and counseled 500 nursing mothers and pregnant women on caring for infants.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Atolagbe Alege, made the call on Monday at the 2017 World Health Organization International Breastfeeding Week celebration held at the Kwara State Civil Service Clinic in Ilorin.
He advised mothers to ensure they adhered to exclusive breast feeding; the best option for their babies, saying it is cheaper and effective.
The commissioner, represented by the State Epidemiologist, Dr. Khadeeja Kamaldeen, advised women to give their children exclusive breast milk to make them healthy and free from diseases.
He said that breast milk is God-given, which contains all the essential nutrients for a baby in the right quantity and temperature.
Also, the Founder of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, said the programme was organised to educate and enlighten nursing mothers on the importance of breastfeeding for babies.
Mrs Saraki; the wife of the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki, was represented at the programme by Hajia Funsho Abdullahi, the wife of the National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC).
She said that there was the need to promote breastfeeding among nursing mothers to achieve a healthy nation.
She explained that breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight viruses and bacteria; while breast feeding lowers baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies.
“Babies who are breastfed exclusively for six months have less bouts of illness and fewer infections,” she said.
The lead midwife of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Ms Felicity Ukoko, in her address stressed on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for a baby in his or her life in the first six months.
She said that exclusive breastfeeding of a baby without water is a form of family planning for the mother if she practised it effectively.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Wellbeing Foundation Africa demonstrated how nursing mothers can properly breastfed their babies to participating nursing mothers and pregnant women at the occasion.
This year’s theme is: “Sustaining breastfeeding together, which means, we cannot do it alone.”
The programmes were held at the Adewole Cottage Hospital, Ilorin; General Hospital, Ilorin, and other places within Ilorin.