As the world commences the 2016 World breastfeeding Week, WBW, today, Federal Government has promised to support breastfeeding and improve funding to scale-up Nutrition practices in the country, as optimal breastfeeding could save more than 100,000 lives each year and boost the economy of the nation.
Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari disclosed this in Abuja ahead of the World Breastfeeding Week during the Launch of the 2016 Lancet Series on Breastfeeding and High- Level Policy Dialogue on Promoting Breastfeeding for National Development in Nigeria.
Mrs Buhari who unveiled the ‘’Abuja Breastfeeding Declaration’’ said that government would prioritize breastfeeding as part of the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition.
She noted that the official Breastfeeding Declaration would provide an opportunity to improve breastfeeding practices in Nigeria, adding that all levels of the society must work together to breakdown the political and societal barriers that hinder the women from practising the 6 months exclusive breastfeeding.
Ministry of Health Professor Isaac Adewole, at the occasion had said that Nigeria is re-committing and re-doubling its efforts at protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in the country.
He said, ‘’Today, we must all re-commit to ensuring that the National Food and Nutrition policy and the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition are fully funded, so they can in turn be fully implemented.’’
‘ I believe we can overcome the challenges that are keeping us from improving breastfeeding in our country if we all work together to ensure that every Nigerian woman feels empowered to breastfeed and every child receives the nutrition he or she needs from the start.’’
Dr. Nigel Rollins of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, child and Adolescent Health Organisation noted that ‘Supporting breastfeeding makes economic sense for rich and poor countries and latest breastfeeding study proves it.
‘’Breastfeeding is a powerful and unique intervention that benefits mothers and children, yet breastfeeding rates are not improving as would like them to and in some countries including Nigeria, the rates are stagnant. We hope the scientific evidence amassed in this series will help revert these negative trends and spur greater policy action’, Rollins affirmed.
He said that solutions to obvious hindrances to optimal breastfeeding practices, depends on countries enacting legislations with rigorous monitoring and enforcement for effective the success of the International Code of marketing of Breast milk substitutes, adopted at the 34thWorld Health Assembly in 1981.
‘The multi-billion dollar breast milk substitute industry and its marketing practices undermines breastfeeding as the best practice in early life’, Rollins said.
The Lancet Breastfeeding Series reaffirms that breastfeeding is a critical intervention that not only saves lives and improves the health of women, newborns and children but also improves development and economic opportunities into the future.
The World Breastfeeding Week commences on 1st to 7th August with various activities by stakeholders to mark the event.