Exclusive Breastfeeding: Rivers targets 100% success


A nursing mother and her baby

Nursing mother

Justice Suzette Wike, wife of River State Governor, on Friday, said the state was set to achieve 100 per cent exclusive breastfeeding before the next statistic year.

Wike disclosed this during the launch of “Breast Feeding Collective’ in the Context of Global Infant and Young Child Feeding Strategy in Port Harcourt.

She said that the state suppose to be producing a good result on exclusive breast feeding record, if there was an effective sensitisation programme.

She urged traditional rulers and other community leaders to increase the campaign, adding that the campaign should as well get to the grassroots of the various communities in the state.

“Everybody’s hands need to be on the deck, to produce an optimal health result for the children and reduce mortality rate,” she said.

She urged the state Commissioner for Health to come up with a policy that would educate women on exclusive breast feeding session in public hospitals.

She stressed the need for greater investment in the exclusive breast feeding campaign.

“There should be more seminars and workshops to educate women on the dangers of ignoring exclusive breastfeeding on their babies,” she said.

The wife of the governor also tasked local government area chairmen to make a budgetary allocation for the sensitisation of women on the importance of exclusive breast feeding for six years.

According to her, the crusade will be more on radio and television jingle and it will be taken every weekend.

“We all know that the bond between mother and child during breastfeeding give great pleasure, joy and happiness and that is how it is suppose to be,’’ she said.

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Prof. Princewill Chike, state’s Commissioner for Health, said that breastfeeding was a significant exercise with healthiest start for a child in life.

Chike commended Wike for it initiative expedient, by continually supporting policies that would promote effective breastfeeding in the state.

He said that estimated investment in breastfeeding can save up to half a million of children’s life in the next 10 years.

He noted that the rising cases of malnutrition in the country had become a major concern and a call for urgent steps to reverse the trend.

Mr Wilboard Ngambi, the Chief of Field, Office of UNICEF said that the programme was the manifestation of the commitment of the state government to improve the health conditions of the members of the public.

Ngambi said that the nation has the opportunity to improve on the gap in Africa, adding that there was a need for effective awareness in all the communities in the state.

Dr Chris Isokpungwu, the representative of the Federal Ministry of Health also urged the state government to create a healthy environment for working mothers; to enable them enjoy their maternity leave.

Isokpungwu said that the conducive environment should be in offices, homes and health centres for breastfeeding mothers.

He said that federal ministry of health had drawn plans that would enable breastfeeding mothers to have enabling environment for breastfeeding in their workplaces.

Isokpungwu also stressed on the need for nursing mothers to place their children on exclusive breastfeed for six months, adding that the effort would help the baby to grow healthy, smart and stronger.

The programme was organised by the state Ministry of Health and the state Primary Health Care Management Board in collaboration with the UNICEF, Ministry of Women Affairs and State Committee on Food and Nutrition.