At least 194, 000 children below the age of five die annually in Nigeria from diarrhoea, Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Paul Orhii, has said.
Orhii, in a paper he presented at an event to mark this year’s World Breastfeeding Day in Makurdi, said the deaths can be avoided if mothers in the country pay adequate attention to exclusive breast feeding of their children during the first six months and continue until they are two years of age.
The NAFDAC boss said inadequate breast feeding of newborns contributes significantly to infant mortality in the country.
“According to figures recently released by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), about 194, 000 children under the age of five die annually as a result of diarrhea in Nigeria. And since this can be averted when children are properly breastfed for two years, it becomes imperative for mothers to engage in the practice. Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that there is nothing that equals breastfeeding in proper nourishment for infants.
“Breast milk has the additional advantage of containing antibodies that protect babies against many common childhood illnesses. It is always in the right temperature, costs nothing and nearly every mother has more than enough for her baby. It also protects the mother’s health by preventing bleeding, enables the uterus to return to normal size after delivery and prevents health and breast cancer”, he said.