By Oluwatobi Fademi

The wife of the Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu joined millions of others across the globe to mark this year’s World Breastfeeding Week with the simple message that breastfeeding plays a major role in building a formidable future generation.

The first lady who was ably represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Women Affairs, Mrs. Titilayo Adeyemi made this declaration at the 2017 World Breastfeeding Week Symposium held at Paul Hendrickse Lecture Hall, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration which is held every year from August 1st to the 7th in more than 120 countries. The goal is to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six month of life which yields tremendous health benefits, providing critical nutrients, and protection from deadly diseases.

While highlighting that Breastfeeding requires a lot of techniques, the wife of the Governor urged mothers and the society at large to become advocates of exclusive breastfeeding and spread the gospel as it is key to having a healthy society.

Presenting a lecture titled: ‘Advantages of Breastfeeding’ one of the Guest Lecturers, Mrs. Adejumoke. Ayede, Consultant Paediatrician, affirmed that breast milk is sufficient and adequate for a child till the age of six months and that the early initiation of breastfeeding increases a child’s immunity as the breast milk contains several anti-infective factors that helps protect the child.

She also stressed that infants that are exclusively breastfed have less chances of developing diabetes and are likely not to be delinquents or be allergic to common diseases like eczema.

She enjoined mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies as breast milk is a shield not just to the child but also to the mother who stands the chance to reduce risk of breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer among others.

In her own lecture, Mrs. Ada Ezeogu, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, highlighted some of the challenges of attaining 100 percent breastfeeding plan across the country.

While noting that breastfed children have at least 6 times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children, Mrs. Ezeogu traced the performance of south western states in Exclusive Breastfeeding stressing that steps must be taken to reduce water intake for infants as that has remained the greatest challenge to Exclusive Breastfeeding.

Some of the participants at the event thanked the organizers most especially Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF) for providing support for such a laudable event.