Agency urges mothers to maintain optimal hygiene during exclusive breastfeeding

By AdvocateNews on 19/08/2021

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The Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), on Wednesday, urged mothers to maintain optimal hygiene and cleanliness of their environment while engaging in exclusive breastfeeding of their infants.

Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary of ENS-PHCDA, gave the advice in Enugu at the World Breastfeeding Week Grand Finale/Baby Show for Enugu East Local Government Area held at Abakpa Health Centre.

Ugwu, who was represented by Mr Fabian Neboh, Director of Community Health Services in the agency, also called on mothers to make regular hand washing with soap and running water a habit.

“As we are already imbibing the exclusive breastfeeding system; we should do all to up our hygiene level and ensure we protect our babies from air and water borne diseases, especially the dread COVID-19.

“I will advise that as soon as the second batch of the COVID-19 vaccines arrives in the state, you make it a duty to get vaccinated to better protect your baby and other members of your household.

“And wear your face mask whenever you have to engage outside your homes and keep some level of distance from other people as you carry out your daily activities,” he cautioned.

Ugwu urged pregnant women to take the issue of attending antenatal clinics ‘very serious’, adding: “It provides opportunity for would-be mothers to learn on when, why and how breastfeeding should be administered and other safety precautions”.

The executive secretary noted that breast-milk is the ultimate food for any baby, while it acts as the first immunisation of the child against child-killer diseases.

Speaking, Dr Ada Erinne, State Coordinator of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Enugu, said that the organization wanted the state to raise its status of children being breastfeed within six months from 49 per cent to 80 per cent.

Erinne, who was represented by Mrs Angela Izegbune, National Immunisation Officer of WHO, Enugu, reminded mothers that lack of breastfeeding was inimical to their health years after child birth.

She said: “You might develop breast cancer, obesity and others if you do not let the breast milk out to the deserving child.

“In the positive light, exclusive breastfeeding to a baby helps to create a bond between mother and child; helps mothers to attain optimal health, heal their wombs and flatten their tummy as fast as possible”.

In a message, Mrs Kehinde Macaulay, Communication for Development (C4D), Consultant of UNICEF, said that breast-milk remains a natural gift from God and the best a mother should give her infant.

Macaulay said that it helps in brain and physical development of the infant; while creating the natural love between mother and child even as the child grows to adulthood.

“We are appealing to fathers, brothers and sisters to ensure they support and motivate our nursing mothers to do exclusive breastfeeding of babies for six months and initiation of breastfeeding within the first one hour of birth.

“They should continue breastfeeding along with nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods until two years old or beyond”, she said.

Earlier, Mrs Pauline Enenwali, State Baby Friendly Initiative Coordinator, gave a health talk on the need for antenatal and periodic medical check while pregnant.

“Knowledge is power and antenatal provides you this unique knowledge and what you should do before, during and after child birth for all to be well,’’ Enenwali counseled.

In the baby show, Baby Zara Chijioke won the best breastfeed baby of the council area 2021; followed by Baby Izuchukwu Eze as runners-up and Baby Ifeanyi Obu came third. They were given deserving gifts.

Similarly, the award of outstanding antenatal attending pregnant mothers went to Mrs Theresa Ewesiobi as first; while Mrs Onyinyechi Ugwumba and Mrs Grace Ugwumba came second and third respectively. They went home with gifts.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government through the ENS-PHCDA had embarked on a month-long exclusive breastfeeding campaign in the months of August to strengthen all activities around exclusive breastfeeding in the state.

The theme of the 2021 World Breastfeeding Week is “Protect Breastfeeding, A Shared Responsibility”.

The United Nations, through the WHO, has set aside Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 yearly as World Breastfeeding Week.

It is meant to draw attention to critical issues of infant health and immune boost based on well-practiced exclusive breastfeeding programme.

Posted 19/08/2021 05:53:27 AM


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