Why poor exclusive breastfeeding persists in Nigeria – Official

Photo: The Guardian

The Federal Ministry of Health said it would continue to promote exclusive breastfeeding and young child feeding practices in health facilities, communities and workplaces.

A statement issued by Chris Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition of the Ministry, said the campaign was to improve poor practice of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria as the world celebrates 2017 World Breastfeeding Week.

Mr. Isokpunwu said the annual World Breastfeeding Week was scheduled to hold from August1 to August 7, with theme `Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’.

He said that Nigeria was predominantly a breastfeeding nation with 97 per cent compliance. However, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding has only shown a minimal increase from two per cent in 1990 to 17 per cent in 2013.

“Poor exclusive breastfeeding practices in Nigeria have been associated with inadequate support from husbands, partners and health professionals.

“Others include delayed initiation of breastfeeding, negative peer influences as well as short paid maternity leave for working mothers,’’ he said.

Mr. Isokpunwu said a platform for long-term collaboration of all advocates, activists, decision-makers, media, and youth was vital for promoting optimal infant and young child feeding practices.

“To attain 50 per cent exclusive breastfeeding targets set in the National Strategic Plan on Nutrition by 2018, the goal of sustainable promotion and support for optimal breastfeeding demands priority, during and post implementation activities,” he added.



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