Home Uncategorized Inadequate breastfeeding costs Nigeria $21bn annually —UNICEF

Inadequate breastfeeding costs Nigeria $21bn annually —UNICEF

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United Nation Children Fund
(UNICEF) has revealed that inadequate breastfeeding practice has caused the Nigerian
economy an estimated $21 billion per annum.
The children world governing body also revealed
that at least, 103,742 children died in Nigeria annually as a result of
inadequate breastfeeding, according to the United Nation Children Fund
(UNICEF).

UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Mrs Ada Ezeogu
disclosed this at a 2-day Media Dialogue on Breastfeeding and Global Breastfeeding
Collective held in Ibadan, Oyo State, as part of activities marking the World
Breastfeeding Week.    
 The media dialogue
was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal
Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF and sponsored
by the Department for International Development.  
Ezeogu said “the prevalence of exclusive
breastfeeding in children below the age of six months is only 17 per cent,
which means that at least 5.4 million children each year do not get the
powerful health and immunological benefits of breastfeeding.”
She explained that when cognitive losses and health
costs are added in, inadequate breastfeeding is estimated to cost the Nigerian
economy $21 billion per year, or 4.1 per cent of its Gross National Index
(GNI).
According to her, in a country with a high
under-five mortality rate and high birth rate, inadequate breastfeeding leads
to 103,742 child deaths each year which in turn translates into almost $12
billion in future economic losses for the country.
Ezeogu enumerated the necessary actions and steps required to enhance
successful breastfeeding and charged health care providers to give adequate
attention to issues of breastfeeding.
In his remarks at the media
dialogue, The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohummed charged
the media to step-up public enlightenment on optimal breastfeeding of babies to
prevent infant mortality and produce healthy and intelligent
children.    
The Information Minister
who was represented by the Assistant Director, Child Rights Information Bureau,
Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju urged journalists to assist in educating and sensitizing
the public on the need to ensure optimal breastfeeding of infants.
The Minister said it has
become very necessary to propagate optimal breastfeeding in the country and
that government and all stakeholders must take necessary actions propagate
optimal breastfeeding.
According to him, “there is
need for all to rise up for the propagation, as early breastfeeding can make
the difference between life and death. Government alone cannot fight this
cause, hence, the need for collaboration with agencies, NGOs and other partners
and organizations to advocate on how best to address the issue.”  
In his remarks, the UNICEF
Chief of Akure Field office said this year’s edition of the annual world
breastfeeding week with the theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together” was a
significant event to promote breastfeeding.
Tejinder said breastfeeding
helps provide children with the healthiest start to life. He explained that
breastfeeding also acts as the child’s first vaccine by providing
antibodies. 
His words “Breastfed
children have at least 6 times greater chance of survival in the early months
than non-breastfed children. An exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less
likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child.”
UNICEF Communication Officer, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor said the dialogue was
aimed at creating opportunities for informed media advocacy on breastfeeding
and issues of children’s well-being and survival in Nigeria.
According to her, “the dialogue is to provide journalists with more
information and materials to hold government accountable to its responsibility
to promote breastfeeding”
UNICEF Communication Specialist, Mr Geoffrey Njoku said the dialogue was
designed to equipped journalists with necessary information through in-depth
and analytical presentations on the subject matter to prevail on the government
to expedite action on low level of breastfeeding in Nigeria.
Njoku said “there is need for aggressive reportage on breastfeeding with
focus on increasing government funding to increase the rate of breastfeeding in
Nigeria.”
Also, the Assistant Chief Nutrition Officer at the Federal Ministry of
Health, Mrs Rakiyat Idris said the federal government has put necessary
policies in place to support family development and that the government would
not relent in promoting optimal breastfeeding.

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