‘Nigeria loses 20,000 women annually to poor breastfeeding

The Federal Government yesterday raised the alarm that no fewer than 20,000 women die annually from poor breastfeeding practices. Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made this known at the commemoration of the 2020 Breastfeeding Week with the theme; “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet,” in Abuja, said the benefit of breastfeeding to both mother and baby had been well documented to, among others, give babies stronger immunity, reduce the risk of suffering many childhood illnesses and infections.

Ehanire further reiterated the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond and introduction of appropriate complementary food as from six months. In the Minister’s words “The World Health Organisation (WHO), in a series of Lancet publications on breastfeeding, reports that scaling up breastfeeding practices to almost universal level could prevent an estimated 823,000 annual deaths, or 13.8 per cent of all deaths of children younger than 24 months.


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