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Mothers’ unwillingness, lack of awareness, others hinder effective breastfeeding- Experts

  13 Février      0        LeaderShip Feminin (4607),


Lagos, Feb. 13, 2019 (NAN) Medical Directors of some private health facilities have identified unwillingness of some mothers to breastfeed and lack of awareness as some of the challenges hindering effective breastfeeding in Nigeria.

They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a day sensitisation conference organised for them in Lagos, Southwest of Nigeria.

The conference, organised by an NGO, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, was aimed at sensitising the private sector on the Infant and Young Child Feeding practices (IYCF).

Commenting, Dr Ngozi Onyia, the Medical Director, Paelon Memorial Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos, said that a key obstacle to effective exclusive breastfeeding was lack of knowledge among health workers.

Onyia said: « There needs to be more enlightenment of the healthcare workers on exclusive breastfeeding practice.

« There is also need for more commitment of healthcare workers to support mothers to ensure that proper breastfeeding is established.  »

Onyia, also a Consultant Paediatrician, said that another challenge she faced in her practice was that many mothers who had antenatal care in her facility preferred travelling abroad for delivery of their babies.

According to her, it is a huge challenge as practitioners abroad are not baby friendly and they start the babies very quickly on formula.

« I have patients who was delivered of her baby in America; more than 50 per cent of the mothers who have antenatal care and the children who I care for are delivered in America.

« The baby comes back to Nigeria about six to eight weeks after delivery already on formula feeding, » she said.

Also, Dr Emmanuel Aigbo, the Medical Director, St Luke’s Medical Centre, Ijeshatedo, Surulere, Lagos, said that many mothers did not practice breastfeeding, because they wanted to maintain their physical appearance.

According to him, the women claim that breastfeeding will make them to look less attractive to their husbands.

« In my practice, I see young women, who after being delivered of their babies, will not want to do exclusive breastfeeding for six months in spite of antenatal and post- natal lectures on breastfeeding.

« The women insist that they want to keep their shapes and go about their normal lives and businesses thereafter.

« These are some of the challenges that hinder the practice of exclusive breastfeeding, among mothers, » Aigbo said.

Also, Dr Odjegoro Ofaye, the Medical Director, Dafe Medical Centre, Ketu, Lagos, said that there was need to train and retrain health workers to implement putting babies on their mothers’ breast immediately after delivery.

« The workers need to be trained to know the importance of teaching mothers to breastfeed their babies right after delivery and thereafter.

« There are enormous advantages associated with breastfeeding babies exclusively for the first six months and beyond, including promoting the baby’s immunity and preventing other infectious diseases that can cause diarrhea, » Ofaye said.

In his remarks, Dr Kunle Alabi of Lakefront Hospital, Alapere, Ketu in Lagos, said that his hospital would partner with some organisations to train health workers on breastfeeding.

Alabi said: « In my hospital, it is a routine for mothers to be enlightened, especially during antenatal clinics on 100 per cent compliance to exclusive breastfeeding.

« There is need for continuous training of health workers.

« Programmes that encourage exclusive breastfeeding are welcome; I am ready to partner with organisations that encourage it. »

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