3rd September, 2012
Lagos State, last week, joined the rest of the world to mark the 2012 Breastfeeding Week, an annual event organised to bring to the fore, the importance of breastfeeding for babies.
The week-long event which involved so many activities such as maternal and child services, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding seminars, talks on healthy living as well as other health-related issues was rounded off with a grand finale, where the state’s Breastfeeding Champions (male and female) were selected and rewarded.
Highlight of the celebration was the presentation of prizes to the Breastfeeding Champions selected from the 57 local government and local council development areas of the state.
The event was attend by hundreds of nursing mothers, health practitioners from the state and local government levels, top government functionaries, traditional rulers and support/partnering agencies.
Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina, stated that the celebration of the breastfeeding week started 20 years ago when the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA, a global network of individuals and organisations launched the first world breastfeeding week campaign.
Adeshina said that since inception, 190 countries now celebrate the event, adding that the Lagos State Government had since stepped up the state’s participation and support for the celebration as part of the health development strategies of the government.
She noted that the aim for this year’s celebration was to recall all the activities that the state had embarked upon in the last 20 years, with a view to taking stock of the successes and achievements as well as fashion ways of bridging the remaining gap in the policy and programmes on exclusive breastfeeding.
Adeshina assured that the state government would take the campaign further by empowering health workers at the local government level to provide effective feeding and nutrition counselling and services, charging all mothers to understand the critical role of breastfeeding in infant survival.
Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, at the event enjoined mothers to continue to see exclusive breastfeeding of their children as part of the most effective measures toward ensuring the full development of their children and one of the ways of preventing diseases that affect them.
She said the state government had, in the last 20 years, joined the rest of the world to mark the breastfeeding week, adding that this was a clear demonstration of government’s commitment to the promotion of maternal health and prevention of infant mortality.
“Today’s event presents another opportunity for us to re-echo our campaign and remind, particularly our mothers, wives, our young women who are prospective mothers that the campaign for exclusive breastfeeding is not limited to Nigeria but it is a worldwide policy which all nations of the world support and adopt,” she added.
The deputy governor implored parents, health practitioners, supporting agencies and all stakeholders to continue to sensitise the public on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, adding that such advocacy should not be limited to the breastfeeding week.