Nigeria: Only 13 in 100 Mothers Exclusively Breast-Feed – Survey

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Available statistics from the National Demographic Health Survey has shown that only 13 in 100 mother’s breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first few months of life.

It also suggests that four out of five babies are not exclusively breastfed within the first hour months of their lives.

A decline in numbers from 17% to 13% in 2008, prompted health authorities to set targets to increase rates of exclusive breastfeeding among women to at least 50% by 2015 through community support groups for women, and in turn increase child nutrition.

Health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said an underlying factor for the more than 50% mortality among children less than five years is associated with malnutrition which lowers children’s immunity and leaves them vulnerable to pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.

In his comments to commemorate World Breastfeeding week delivered by the permanent secretary in the ministry Sani Bala, Chukwu said “malnutrition in early stages, particularly in the first 1,000 days predisposes a child to a condition that causes irreversible physical and cognitive damage.”

“Breastfeeding within 30 minutes of life and up to 6 months is one of the most powerful weapons to fight malnutrition,” said Susan Grant, country director for Save the Children.

About author

Kemi Wale-Olaitan

Kemi is a retired broadcaster from the service of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; while in service, she had her interest in women issues and had interviews with several notable women in the course of her duty as a producer in the service of the Federal government. Her interest in broadcasting was informed by her creative writing prowess; she has been very active in creative writing since her undergraduate days, and she has written a few fictional works in form of short stories and novel. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies of Short stories. Kemi was also very active in the establishment of the Women Writers Association of Nigeria (WRITA) and she served on its first Executive Council.

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