Civil Societies-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has advocated for robust policy formulation and implementation by the government to promote exclusive breastfeeding to prevent maternal mortality.
Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, the Executive Secretary of the group, said this at the commemoration of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) in Abuja on Thursday, August 5.
Reports have it that every year is set aside as the beginning of WBW and the 2021 theme is “Protecting Breastfeeding: A shared Responsibility”.
Eluaka called on the government at all levels to implement policies that would encourage exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months.
She said that breastfeeding was key to improved healthcare of both the mother and child as well as the community at large.
“Breastfeeding is not only beneficial to the mother and child but to the community.
“Government has a role to play to ensure and initiate policies that mothers breastfeed up to a maximum of two years,” Eluaka said.
The nutritionist, who reiterated the need for the political will of the government to enforce breastfeeding, called on offices and organisations to rise to the occasion of supporting breastfeeding.
“A workplace also has a responsibility to encourage nursing workers to breastfeed their babies,” she urged.
Eluaka expressed the commitment of the group to continue to advocate for national compliance with six months maternity leave for nursing mothers.
She however called for a synergy of all stakeholders to achieve the global 50 per cent breastfeeding target for 2025.
Mrs Felicia Sani, the President of the Market Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), urged women to embrace the habit of breastfeeding which, according to her, is vital to the survival of the child.
Sani said that an exclusively breastfed child was more intelligent with outstanding cognitive development than a non-exclusively breastfed child.
The Octogenarian, who described breastfeeding as a vaccine for immunity, said it promotes the bond between the mother and child.
Mrs Chinwe Obi, a member of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), also u underscored the benefits of breastfeeding.
According to her, it enhances mental and physical wellness as well as giving the mother protection from sicknesses like breast cancer.