As the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), the wives of Obio/Akpor and Andoni local government council chairmen, Mrs Emojevwe Ariolu, and Prof Beatrice Awortu, have asserted that the importance of six months’ exclusive breastfeeding and two years’ complementary feeding to the child, mother and the society cannot be over-emphasised.
During the flag off ceremony at the Obio/Akpor Council Headquarters, Rumuodomaya, Mrs Emojevwe Ariolu urged mothers to become advocates of exclusive breastfeeding, and support mothers to practice optimal breastfeeding for the good of a great nation.
She called for extensive support of the zero-water campaign, and added that while tradition may argue that a child needs water; all the quantity needed was contained in the mother’s breast milk.
The flag off also provided the opportunity for Emojevwe to be decorated as “Breastfeeding Champion of The Year” by the State Coordinator of Maternal and Child (MNCH), Dr. Jaja Emem.
This year’s edition of WBW with the global theme: “Step Up For Breastfeeding, Educate and Support” is an opportunity for all political leaders, policy makers, legislators, women, men, religious leaders, families, communities, workplaces, the private sector, individuals, and indeed, every Nigerian to take responsibility and join hands to raise awareness on the huge benefits of breastfeeding.
Speaking at the event, the Obio/Akpor Local Government Council Chairman, Barrister George Ariolu, reiterated that his administration’s commitment towards supporting exclusive breastfeeding in the area, noting that, “the local government, in partnership with the Rivers State Government Primary Healthcare Management Board, remains committed to support, protect and promote breastfeeding as a veritable means towards eradication of childhood malnutrition in all its forms”.
Ariolu seized the opportunity to recommend, once again, “early initiation of breastfeeding within the first one hour of birth; exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond while ensuring the implementing of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes as globally recommended.
“Globally, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for infants under six months of age is 40perccent. In Africa, nearly 70pecent of countries have high rates of continued breastfeeding at one year, compared to 28.7perccent in Nigeria.”
Other keynote speakers present at the event affirmed the right of every child to be breastfed, and reiterated that it was not just the responsibility of the mother but rather a shared responsibility for all.
Speaking during an awareness campaign on breastfeeding in Ngo Town in commemoration of the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week, the wife of Andoni Council Chairman of Andoni Local Government, Prof Beatrice Awortu, said that exclusive breastfeeding was a panacea to infant mortality.
She said the significance of the event was to create awareness at the rural level on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding to the survival and development of newborns.
Beatrice asserted that the importance of six months’ exclusive breastfeeding and two years’ complementary feeding to the child, mother and the society cannot be over-emphasised.
She stated that besides building a strong bond between the mother and child, exclusive breastfeeding enhances the Intelligent Quotient (IQ) of the baby, reduces mortality rate as it boosts the immune system of the newborn against life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea amongst other infections.
She said it also reduces the weight of the nursing mother and prevents Breast Cancer, among other gains.
“Today is our rally for the World Breastfeeding Week and it is an annual event by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is a period to highlight the importance of breastfeeding and to encourage women to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of childbirth with complementary feeding for two years”.
“My message is to encourage Andoni women to breastfeed their babies because of the benefits of breastfeeding, it is important for the baby, the mother and the society, the advantages are enormous”.
Mrs Awortu also called on husbands/fathers to support the global advocacy for exclusive breastfeeding by encouraging their wives to breastfeed for the stipulated period of six months.
“This awareness programme is our own way as a council of supporting this noble course by the WHO. Husbands should support their wives by encouraging them to breastfeed exclusively”.
The Secretary to Andoni council, Hon. Dimiari Franklin; the Leader of the Andoni Legislative Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheila Nte; and some female political appointees took part in the breastfeeding awareness campaign held in Ngo Town at the instance of the wife of the council Chairman, Prof. Beatrice Awortu, who presented wrappers, children cloths, diapers, sanitary pads and toiletries to nursing mothers at the event.
The 2022 World Breastfeeding Week comes on the heels of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health weekend on Sunday, August 7.
Some health experts, who spoke at the event, said breast milk was rich in nutrients and anti-bodies which are essential for the health and survival of the newborn.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.
RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku
The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.
Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading
The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”
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