By Asmau Ahmad
The Lagos State Government has expressed concern over inadequate nutrition in children across the country.
The Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga, stated this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.
Dr. Onanuga said Lagos would join other states to sensitise the public on the urgent need to provide adequate nutrition to children from birth to five years old.
He said the celebration of Breastfeeding week would give opportunity to sensitise other states of the federation, community and nursing mothers about unquantifiable benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
Onanuga spoke at press conference as part of activities to mark the 2016 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) with the theme: ‘Breastfeeding: A key to Sustainable Development’.
The special adviser said there was need for caregivers, stakeholders as well as the nursing mothers to understand the unquantifiable benefits of exclusive breast feeding
“Exclusive breastfeeding is one of the Child Survival Strategies that has been proven by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and endorsed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“It is for this reason that the WABA,UNICEF and WHO set aside World Breastfeeding Week annually to advocate on the need to practice exclusive breastfeeding for babies in the first six months of life,” Onanuga said
He said that the practice of exclusive breast feeding would ensure the provision of vital and adequate nutrients required for healthy and maximal growth and development of babies.
He said: “Babies who are exclusively breastfed are protected from severe complications like childhood killer diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, to become healthy and productive adults.
“Exclusive Breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are part of the key interventions for improving child survival which can save 20 per cent of children under five years of age from morbidity and
He added that about 50 to 60 per cent of under-five mortality cases are largely due to malnutrition, caused by poor breastfeeding practices and inadequate complementary.
Health Reporters gathered that the national figure of exclusive breastfeeding rate is very low and Lagos figure is 28 per cent in 2013. He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to ensure efforts to implement breastfeeding.