The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole has said that husbands need to play a pivotal role in promoting six months exclusive breastfeeding in the society.
Speaking during an event to mark the 2018 World Breastfeeding week in Abuja on Thursday, Adewole said that exclusive breastfeeding yields tremendous health benefits such as providing critical nutrients and protection from deadly diseases.
The Minister also said that Nigeria is working on a blueprint that would extend the maternity leave of women from their various places of work from four months to six months.
He stressed that it is the duty of the government under the UN convention on the Right of Child to help ensure Children’s right to health adding that the crucial position husbands occupy in the society and in the lives of a child made it imperative to urge them to support their wives in raising a child properly by encouraging six months exclusive breastfeeding for the benefit of a child’s health and nutrition.
“Husbands play a crucial role here. They need to support the women to give breast milk to the child and to give it exclusively for the first six months.
“Sometimes, you find husbands challenging their wives on why the child is not given water.
“But all the water the child needs is in the breast milk. The child does not need any additional water because inside the breast milk and part of its content is water and that is enough.
“So I use this opportunity to urge our men to always encourage their wives on breast milk so as to raise healthy children” he added.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Representatives, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pernille Ironside has reaffirmed its continued partnership with the federal government in the interest of child survival.
She express sadness that 7 out every ten children between the ages of zero to six months are not exclusively been breastfeed.
“Study conducted by the Federal ministry of health in collaboration with UNICEF last year revealed that inadequate and low rate of breastfeeding in children results to millions avoidable cases of child hood diarrhea and pneumonia in children which usually lead to more than hundred thousand child death” Ironside said.
For his part, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Wondi Alemu said WHO has identified some of the benefits if breastfeeding to include nutritional, emotional as well as psychological well-being of the child.
He added that the WHO will continue to promote the basic of breastfeeding, early initiation, the exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding as well as some initiative like the baby friendly, hospital initiative and concerns about policy and strategies in breastfeeding a child.
Similarly, Wife of the Senate President, and the Founder of Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki in her goodwill message said the mandate of her organisation is to improve Behavioural Change Communication practices in practices in private health facilities in ten Local Government areas in Lagos State with a target reach of 260,000 pregnant women and 83,000 pregnant women in four LGAs in Kuduna.