The Imo State government has been admonished to champion the crusade for active breastfeeding by mothers, through monitoring and tracking the progress of recommended best practices across the globe.
This position was made known by the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Enugu, Dr. Ibrahim Conteh, while accessing the role of the State government in the implementation of the process of breastfeeding the child.
According to him, the latest data revealed that there is still much work to be done by the state government even as he stressed that the Global Breast Feeding Collective called for increase financing, improved implementation of policies, programmes and interventions to provide mothers the needed support to breastfeed the child.
Dr. Conteh highlighted that it is the responsibility of the state government to strengthen the links between health facilities, support breastfeeding and monitor the progress of policies, programmes and funding for breastfeeding.
The UNICEF boss, emphasised that UNICEF believe in a world where all mothers have the technical, financial, emotional and public support needed to start and continue breastfeeding.
He submitted that the global nutrition community need to ensure that women have all the support needed to continue breastfeeding the children safely.
“Breast feeding is one of the smartest investments to improve human capital, stimulate economic growth and give every child same opportunity to survive and thrive in all human endeavours,” he said.
Investigation by LEADERSHIP about breastfeeding rate by mothers across the State revealed that Owerri zone has the highest level of compliance with 17% adherence while Okigwe and Orlu zones have 16% compliance rate each.
This is even as UNICEF and the State
Ministry of Health have played pivotal role in sensitising and encouraging women in the city and rural areas to embrace in totality, exclusive breastfeeding, for the good health and vitality of the child.
Speaking, Mrs Grace Odu from Ehime Mbano local government area, stressed that exclusive breastfeeding is a welcome development, but however, expressed fear that she is unable to comply as a result of her trading activities which do not give her enough time to brestfeed the child.
In her contribution, Mrs Margaret Ndukwe, a farmer revealed that UNICEF in conjunction with the ministry of health had previously through advocacy, informed them about the advantages of exclusive breastfeeding.
She, however, regretted that her farming does not give her the time to embrace the policy holistically.
In her comment, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Vulnerable Group, Lady Nkechinyere Ugwu, stressed that the importance of exclusive breastfeeding can not be over emphasised.
According to her, this was responsible for the Ministry of Health in collaboration with UNICEF to decide to take the message to the rural populace with the assurance that if implemented by nursing mothers, it would assist in providing rich source of essential nutrients and anti-bodies that boost child’s immune system, brain development and saves lives.