The Delta state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nicholas Azinge, has said that over 1.5 million infants die annually, with millions mentally impaired due to inadequate breastfeeding.
Azinge, who revealed this during a press briefing in his office as part of the occasion marking this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), revealed that this estimate was contained in United Nations International Education Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) reports.
He lamented that over 3,000 infants die daily globally due to diarrhoea and other respiratory tract infections resulting from the use of infant formula of various kinds as well as use of feeding bottle and dummy.
He noted that the Delta state Primary Health Care Development Agency that has kept the celebration of WBW in the front burner every year, collaborated with UNICEF and State Committee on Food and Nutrition Focal Persons, hundreds of mothers and care givers across the 25 Local Government Areas on the need to practice exclusive breastfeeding as well as adopting the global policy on the implementation and practice of Infant and Youth Child Feeding (IYCF).
In his words, “the bi-annual Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) implementation is also an opportunity to promote breastfeeding practice as it is a key component of the programme. The exit interview for mothers accessing health services during the just concluded first round 2016 MNCHW showed that 27 per cent breastfed their babies for less than 12 months while 59% introduced complementary feeds before 6 months.”
While revealing the theme of 2016 World Breastfeeding Week, as ‘BREASTFEEDING a Key to Sustainable Development’, Azinge stated that the objectives of this year’s celebration according to World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action WABA include, to inform people about the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they relate to breastfeeding and Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF); and to firmly anchor breastfeeding as a key component of sustainable development.
Others were to galvanize a variety of actions at all levels on breastfeeding and IYCF in the new era of the (SDGs); to engage and collaborate with a wider range of actors around the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding; and To showcase the progress made so far and the key gaps in breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding among others.