In commemoration of the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Thursday hosted in Jos a sensitization event for particularly women of the force on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the growth and development of babies, towards achieving a healthy society.
The theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is: “Breastfeeding: The Foundation of Life;” it recognizes the importance of breastfeeding to babies for a healthy start in life.
Since 1992, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year between the 1st and 7th of August. It focuses on promoting the immense benefits of breastfeeding to babies in terms of nutrition, food security and poverty reduction which are pivotal towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In his keynote address, guest lecturer at the event, Dr Emeka Ejelioju, a consultant pediatrician at the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) said breast milk provides nutritional, immunological and development benefits to infants.
He therefore urged the Nigerian Air Force to come up with a policy on the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as a way of encouraging and supporting breastfeeding.
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In his remarks at the event, commander of the 563 Nigerian Air Force Hospital in Jos, Wing Commander M Muhammed, a cardiologist, encouraged breastfeeding mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months of their lives and subsequently for 2 years, adding that breastfeeding plays a significant role in cognitive development during the growth of babies as well as protects mothers from diseases.
“Women should breastfeed exclusively, breastfeeding increases protection in post-menopausal women. Women that breastfeed their babies for more than 12 months are protected from diseases such as stroke, obesity, diabetes and hypertension,” he said.