….Commemorates Y2023 World Breastfeeding Week with an Awareness Walk, Health Talk
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Health District I, Dr. Olufunmilayo Bankole has urged citizens particularly, nursing mothers and pregnant women to support the drive of the State Government to entrench the culture of proper and exclusive breastfeeding in nurturing of babies and infants to healthy and productive members of the society.
Bankole who made this call today at an awareness and sensitization program in commemoration of the Y2023 World Breastfeeding Week, advised citizens especially nursing mothers and pregnant women to ensure that children are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life adding that breastfeeding prevents hunger, malnutrition and ensures food security for babies.
The programme which was organised by the newly created Lagos State Health District I (comprising Agege, Ifako-Ijaiye and Alimosho LGAs) in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of Lagos State, commenced with an awareness walk within the environs of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government, followed by health talk on benefits of breastfeeding to nursing mothers and pregnant women at the Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital and Ifako-Ijaiye Primary Healthcare center and culminated with an advocacy visit to the Chairman of Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government.
Bankole noted that the Y2023 World Breastfeeding Week themed: “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents” is well thought out, stressing that employers of labour and working class parents need to understand the role of exclusive and proper breastfeeding in the upbringing and mental development of children.
She added that the State Government will continue to educate, inform and empower actors to provide and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments to nursing mothers.
“Today, we are celebrating the Y2023 World Breastfeeding Week themed: “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parents” which is targeted to promote, protect and support exclusive breastfeeding practices from birth up to six months of life .
“I want us to know that the Lagos State government actively supports exclusive breastfeeding initiative, as the State Government had already made provision for female public servants to have paid maternity leave for a period of six months and male public servants a paid paternity leave of up to two weeks”, She said.
Bankole noted that ensuring proper exclusive breastfeeding practices is a collective responsibility of everybody which should not be left to women gender alone, noting that men also have a supportive role in encouraging their wives to practice proper and exclusive breastfeeding.
She assured that the State Government will not relent in putting in place policies and strategies geared towards creating a conducive atmosphere for nursing mothers to practice proper and exclusive breastfeeding.
“The survival of our children is our collective responsibility, and so this is a clarion call to action. All hands must be on deck to ensure our nursing mothers are supported to give exclusive breastfeeding to our children as breast milk is the only food the child needs to grow well and stay healthy during the first six months” She noted.
The Permanent Secretary stated that beyond the world breastfeeding week commemoration, the Lagos State Government will continue to carry out advocacy and sensitization programmes to constantly remind citizens of the benefits of proper and adequate breastfeeding for children.
Earlier, the Chairman, Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government, Hon. Usman Akanbi Hamzat commended the State Government for organizing the sensitization program, adding that the yearly commemoration of breastfeeding week celebration will go a long way in getting citizens equipped with adequate and right information about breastfeeding which he noted will bring about the nurturing of members of the society.
Speaking in thesame vein, the Medical Director, Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, Dr. Bamidele Mustapha who was represented by Dr. Awobusiyi encouraged mothers to prioritize the health and well-being of their children with a strong commitment and dedication to breastfeed them exclusively.
“Proper breastfeeding involves making up your mind to breastfeed your baby because it is a mindset thing and you have to look away from all discomfort and pain that may arise after birth and be determined and committed to practice breastfeeding for the benefit of the baby”, He said.
While urging all mothers to take advantage of the lessons learnt from the awareness and sensitization program, Bamidele advised mothers to avoid timing their babies while breastfeeding, adding that the child should be allowed to derive maximum satisfaction from breastfeeding.