-Lauds FG, Others Over Abuja Breastfeeding Declaration
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Wife of the Senate President Mrs. Toyin Saraki, has called on all key policy and healthcare professionals in Nigeria to increase efforts at improving breastfeeding rates, “in order to greatly reduce child mortality and to attain a healthier nation, through the improved social and economic benefits of early and exclusive breastfeeding.”
Mrs Saraki also commended the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders on the “Abuja Breastfeeding Declaration” which focuses on “Protection, Promotion and Support for Breastfeeding” in the country.
The declaration which came on the heels of a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Promoting Breastfeeding for National Development in the country was led by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Save the Children, and other development partners.
A statement from the Communication’s Department of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), said other stakeholders who partook in the declaration include Alive & Thrive, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dangote Foundation, the Department for International Development (DfID), and the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA).
The agencies are poised to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a newborn’s life to radically improve national development and progress in Nigeria, according to the statement.
Mrs. Saraki, in her capacity as a Global Goodwill Ambassador of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), also emphasized the importance and benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and the practical advantages for both mother and child.
She said: “I wish to stress that the scientific evidence shows that Early and Exclusive Breast Feeding confers a protective effect on the survival of infants, while it also decreases the risk for many early-life diseases that threatens the growth and wellbeing of an infant.
“Also, breastfeeding confers some protection to women against breast and ovarian cancer, alongside the fact that breastfeeding aids maternal-child bonding. Therefore, given that development essentially thrives on the advancement of women and children, there is an urgent imperative to invest in exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria, in order to yield a healthier population that will sustain the country economically,” she said.
Mrs Saraki who is also the President of the WBFA, added that: “Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding deserves renewed investments and increased prioritizing in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Midwives need to engage and commit to playing their part in improving nutrition for mothers and their babies in order to also meet the Sustainable Development Goals.
“As a Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives, I have pledged to promote the placement of midwives, and the midwifery services framework, at the heart of reproductive maternal newborn child and adolescent health, to proffer and drive solutions to our most pressing challenges,” she said.