Sanwo-Olu’s wife advocates exclusive breastfeeding for babies
Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has called for an enabling environment to enable nursing mothers practise exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months for the interest of their children.
She said that while the state had increased maternity leave to six months for nursing mothers and approved two weeks paternity leave for fathers to allow exclusive breastfeeding, other states should emulate what Lagos State has done in ensuring a better life for the infants.
The governor’s wife, who spoke during an event organised by Reals Pharmaceuticals in commemoration of the World Breastfeeding Day in Ikeja, Lagos, represented by the Managing Director of Ibeju Lekki General Hospital, Folasade Fadare, where Mamalait Granules, a dietary supplement, was introduced to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, said there is a compelling need to continue to push for nursing mothers to embrace breastfeeding to improve children’s growth and development.
Besides, the Lagos State First Lady called for a collective responsibility to create the enabling environment for mothers to breastfeed.
According to her, the theme of the celebration, “Step Up For Breastfeeding: Educate and Support,” is definitely apt and timely as it focuses on strengthening the capacity of actors to protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of society.
She said: “In considering the actors in the breastfeeding ecosystem, we cannot but mention governments, health systems, workplaces, and communities. All these actors have specific roles to play and they must be well-informed, educated and empowered to strengthen their capacity to provide and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environment for families in the post- pandemic world.
“In specific terms, fathers, relatives, colleagues and the community generally must make it a priority to support nursing mothers to observe exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended period. It is our collective responsibility to create the enabling environment for mothers to breastfeed optimally in the interest of the health of the children,”
She, however, called for the need to sustain the advocacy and ensure that the message is cascaded to the target groups to bring about a convergence that will facilitate a situation whereby all relevant stakeholders are on the same page to support breastfeeding.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the gain of the act of appropriate breastfeeding could not be over-emphasised, saying that breastfeeding promotes full brain development and yield high socio-economic returns.
Abayomi, who was represented by Pharmacist Bola Adeniran, said: “Exclusive Breastfeeding practice protects babies from severe complications arising from gastro-enteritis, pneumonia, and other childhood killer diseases. About 60 per cent of under-five mortalities are largely due to malnutrition, caused by poor breastfeeding practices and inadequate complementary feeding.”
He added that the Lagos State had fared better in breastfeeding data, such as Exclusive Breastfeeding Rate, which is 51.8 per cent (NDHS 2018) compared to the National figure of 29 per cent (NDHS 2018).
General Managing Director of Reals Pharmaceuticals Limited, Ade Popoola, said the current realities of COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted mothers’ education and support for breastfeeding.
Popoola also noted that the occasion considered the importance of supportive policies that need to be put in place by relevant stakeholders across board, while also showcasing the roles that are being played to promote exclusive breastfeeding.
“Not only does breastfeeding improve children’s health, it also improves mothers’ health—decreasing their risk of developing several illnesses, such as hypertension, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or type 2 diabetes. This occasion therefore not only provides the opportunity to acknowledge the numerous benefits of breastfeeding but also to consider the importance of supportive policies that need to be put in place by governments, health systems, workplaces and communities to encourage it, while also showcasing the roles that are being played to promote exclusive breastfeeding.”