The Abia State Government has insisted that exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months of life of a baby is very crucial to the future growth and development of a child, hence all women in the state must adhere to it.
It, however, disclosed that it has engaged the services of women who have practiced exclusive breast feeding over the years as volunteers to sensitise women in all nooks and crannies of the state on the gains and benefits of the exercise.
Speaking at a media briefing in preparation for the World Breast Feedinig Week, the Executive Secretary of the Abia State Primary Health Care Scheme, Dr. Chukwuemeka Oluoha, revealed that the state is targeting 50 per cent increase in exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
He disclosed that the exclusive breast feeding compliance level in the state had risen from 16% in 2008 to 18% in 2013 , and 25% in 2014, reiterating this year, the target is to attain 50 per cent compliance.
Dr. Oluoha further reiterated that the state had engaged the services of some volunteer mothers who have practiced exclusive breastfeeding over the years to sensitise nursing mothers in their localities on the numerous benefits of breast feeding children exclusively during the first six months of life.
He urged nursing mothers to strictly adhere to the six months duration of exclusive breastfeeding and resist the temptation of introducing water or other baby supplements.
Oluoha argued that contrary to erroneous belief in some quarters, breast milk contains all the necessary nutrients and water in their right proportion that a baby needs in its first six months.
He revealed non adherence to exclusive breastfeeding accounts for about 30% child mortality in Nigeria, and called on nursing mothers in the state to embrace exclusive breastfeeding .