In a bid to create awareness, promote and sustain exclusive breastfeeding, especially for infant’s health and survival, Borno state government through the wife of the Governor of Borno state, Dr Falmata Zulum, launched a campaign.
The 2022 theme for World Breastfeeding Week, ‘Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support’, seeks to involve governments, communities, and individuals. The theme aims to raise awareness about sustainable breastfeeding environment.
“This years’ theme is tilted towards increasing awareness for most especially, mothers in the state,” Dr Falmata Zulum said at the commemoration event in Maiduguri on August 3, 2022.
Flagging off 2022 Breastfeeding Week in the state, a week-long celebration to protect, promote and support breastfeeding as well as to help institutionalize breastfeeding within health care systems, she said: “I wish to re-affirm our commitments as a state. We would continue to put more efforts and structures, including at the community levels, to ensure that the importance of exclusive breastfeeding is amplified.
“We would also continue to work with the traditional and community leaders to ensure success is achieved. And I would like to appreciate WHO and partners for their continual support in ensuring that the rate of exclusive breastfeeding is increased in the state.”
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years and beyond, provides an infant the best start possible to life.
Breast milk is safe and clean and provides the energy and nutrients an infant need for the first few months of life. It continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year.
Early initiation of breastfeeding, within one hour of birth, protects the newborn from infectious and chronic diseases, and reduces newborn mortality. It facilitates emotional bonding of mother and baby and has a positive impact on the duration of exclusive breastfeeding.
Also, at the launch of the campaign in Borno, the WHO Northeast Emergency Manager, Dr Richard Lako said the position on breastfeeding remains the same and will, “continue to provide technical support to the state government in achieving the target, set by the World Health Assembly of 50% infants being exclusively breastfed in the first six months of life by the year 2025.”
Dr Lako added that it remains important that awareness on exclusive breastfeeding targeting mothers, be enhanced in the state since the act guarantees safe, nutritious, and accessible source for infants.