By SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri –
Borno state government will take urgent steps to protect, promote and support optimal infant and young child feeding. including legislative protection, social promotion and health worker and health system support via Baby Friendly Initiatives (BFD) and additional approaches.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Mohammed Ghuluze gave the commitment during a press conference in Maiduguri on Tuesday to mark 2023 World Breastfeeding Week in Maidugiri.
The 2023 WBW coincided with other chains of activities that was flagged off by the Firat Lady, Dr. Palmata Babagana Umara Zulum
Dr. Ghuluze noted that this year World Breastfeeding Week is intended to galvanize actions across multiple sectors. including the private sector, on how to improve existing breastfeeding facilities, create new ones where there are none, and review the possibility of legislating policies that will promote breastfeeding-friendly work places.
He also expressed hope to achieve and sustain the behaviors and practices necessary to enable every mother and family to give every child the best start in life.
He reiterated Borno State Government’s commitment to engage with all the individuals and organizations towards supporting exclusive breastfeeding in order to achieve the needed transformational change to achieve and sustain optimal practices in the state.
According to him, “breastfeeding is the cornerstone of child survival. It has the potential to save over 800,000 lives annually when practiced exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life and complemented by age-appropriate feeding for up to two years or more.
“The impact of such feeding practices extends beyond infancy as it ensures healthy children who can reach their full potential for growth and development.
The Permanent Secretary observed that one of the primary barriers to breastfeeding or early cessation of breastfeeding is the prevalence of workplace challenges, pointing out that Women require sufficient time and support o breastfeed successfully.
According to him, working women everywhere struggle to balance child- care and their work responsibilities. Some governments and workplaces make this integration easier where Bomo state, has an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 40% while it is in the processing of stepping up the rate to meet up with the toward the World Health Assembly target of 50%.
He added that with this year’s theme which focuses on supporting working mothers to continue exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months, adding that “already Borno State has 4 months maternity leave in existence and plans to increase accordingly.
He stressed the need for continued support from the health system, workplaces and communities to enable governments to play their critical roles in empowering women and sustaining breastfeeding-friendly environments at the health facilities.