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‘63 percent of women in Cross River do not exclusively breastfeed’

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The Director General, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHDA), Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, has revealed that only 37 percent of women in the state initiate breastfeeding, with about 15 percent being younger mothers.

Speaking at the just concluded World Breastfeeding Week, she said 63 percent of the women were not practising exclusive breastfeeding because of concern for their looks and careers.

She urged Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and organisations to set up special homes for nursing mothers within work environments.

While appreciating the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) for its immense support to the state for promoting breastfeeding, she said they were doing everything possible to improve breastfeeding.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF have done much to boost breastfeeding and other issues, as both organisations recommend that “infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.

To meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years.

Also, UNICEF Communication Officer (Advocacy, Media & Ext. Relations), Enugu office, Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe urged mothers to breastfeed during the current pandemic, while observing all necessary safety and hygiene precautions, as “ the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for stronger measures to support exclusive breastfeeding”.


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