Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
The Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Primary Health Care Development Board (PHCDB), Dr. Rilwan Mohammed has frowned at the poor attitude of most nursing mothers towards exclusive six months breast feed, in the Territory.
He lamented that the development has given rise to severe malnutrition among infants in the FCT, as according to him most Abuja mothers for reason best known to them, shy away from recommended breastfeeding culture.
Making this point at a press briefing to kick start this year breast feeding week in FCT, the Secretary noted that only 9 percent of nursing mothers especially high class mothers practices exclusive breast feeding in the nation’s capital.
He stressed the need for mothers to give breast milk to their newborn babies, as it contains all the nutrients including large percentage of water that babies need for optimal growth from 0-6months of life.
Also, he called on men (fathers) and other stakeholders in the FCT to support nursing mothers to breast feed exclusively for six months.
He disclosed that malnutrition was responsible for at least 35 per cent of deaths in children less than 5 years of age, despite that there is an alarming 5.5 percent fertility rate in the country.
According to him, infant mortality rate was 100 deaths per 1000 live births but decreased to 75 deaths per 1000 live births in 2008 report by the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).
This figure, he said, further decreased to 69 deaths per 1000 live births noting that the survey revealed that maternal rate has risen to 576 per 100,000 live births from the 545 per 100,000 live births in 2008.
As part of the solution, he called on state governments and FCT to emulate Lagos state government that recently increased maternity leave for pregnant women to six months.
Peoples Daily reports that first week of August every year is observed globally as International Breastfeeding week, to encourage create awareness on importance of exclusive breastfeeding by nursing mothers. The theme for this year breast feeding week, which is ” Breastfeeding: A winning goal for life”, with the slogan – “Breastfeeding: Score a Goal, Save a Life.”