Welcome Address Of The Honourable Minister Of State For Health, The Federal Ministry Of Health, Senator. Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora On The Occasion Of The Ministerial Briefing Of The 2020 World Breastfeeding Week, Abuja On Tuesday,4th August, 2020

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I am very delighted to welcome you to the Ministerial Press briefing of the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) celebration with the theme: “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet”. The focus is at increasing awareness of the health and wellbeing outcomes of breastfeeding on infants, young children, and mothers. It is highlighting the links between breastfeeding and planetary health, with the objectives to inform people about the links between breastfeeding and the environment; anchor breastfeeding as climate-smart decision, engage individuals and organisations for greater impact; and galvanise action for improved breastfeeding practices.

Distinguished Nigerians, it is important that I applaud all of us for joining the global community for over two decades to celebrate breastfeeding in line with the global theme.   Let’s recall that Nigeria is committed to the 1990 Innocenti Declaration which enjoins all nations to protect, promote, and support mothers to optimally breastfeed our infants and young children. Our gathering today is for a reflection and commitment of our expertise and invest resources on breastfeeding for our healthier planet.

Nigeria is celebrating the theme of the year to maximise the benefits of breastfeeding as the most single cost-effective intervention for saving infant lives, improving the health, social and economic development of individuals. To the mother, breastfeeding helps with birth spacing, reduces risk of breast and ovarian cancers and lowers the risk of hypertension and diabetes. While the child benefits with reduced risks of infectious diseases, incidence and severity of diarrhoea, lowers respiratory infections and acute otitis media, prevents dental caries and malocclusion and increases intelligence. On the other hand, not breastfeeding at all is reported to be associated with lower intelligence and results in economic losses of about $302 billion annually.

The above health benefits of breastfeeding notwithstanding, it also have the potential to enhance planetary health. The climate change and environmental degradation are some of the most urgent challenges facing our world today. Over time, the use of Breast milk Substitutes makes us of this land, water and energy sources, thereby increasing depletion and destruction of natural resources contributing to the emission of major greenhouse gases (GHGs). It is therefore imperative that we protect our planet and our own health by responsible use of BMS to only few infant and Young children with the officially recognized health authority- NAFDAC. Breastfeeding is linked to all of these, and is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In view of this, I use this 2020 World Breastfeeding Week to welcome all to continue to advocate and support our mothers to optimally breastfeed our children in line with the National recommendation on Infant and Young Child which include: early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life; and continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond, with the introduction of appropriate complementary foods at six months.

Ladies and gentlemen, as I welcome you to this weeklong commemoration, I wish to applaud the commitment and support of our Development Partners: Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Alive & Thrive, UNICEF, Nutrition International, Breakthru-Action, Action Against Hunger, HKI, etc. Your contributions are commendable.

Thank you all!!!

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