Oyo State government has appealed to pregnant women and nursing mothers in the state to breast their children exclusively, for at least the first six months of their lives.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, made the plea while declaring open, the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week, organised by the state government in collaboration with ANRiN, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
At the event, which held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, Adeduntan said newborns must be allowed to enjoy breast milk, in order to enjoy a healthy growth.
The Commissioner, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Board, Lanre Abass, explained that exclusive breastfeeding means that the breast milk given to children will not be complemented with water, fluid or any other food.
He explained, that, children fed exclusively with breast milk, would be protected from malaria, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections.
The health commissioner also asserted that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, comprising the time of conception to the first two years, is very important, because within the period, the child’s brain develops rapidly.
The Head, Health Promotion and Nutrition, at the event, Dr. Khadijat Alarape, said the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Oyo state has increased from 30.5 percent in 2013 to 50 percent in 2017. She advised nursing mothers to embrace the practice, so that the state’s target to achieve 80 per cent for breastfeeding can be achieved.