MAKURDI— The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, yesterday, lamented that over 194,000 Nigerian children under the age of five die annually as a result of diarrhoea.
He warned that the alarming figure was a wake-up call to Nigerian mothers to ensure that their babies were properly breast-fed in their formative years in order to avert avoidable deaths among children in the country.
Orhii stated this in Makurdi in a paper he presented at the 2013 World Breastfeeding year, entitled, ‘An Overview of the International/National Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.’
He said, “according to figures recently released by the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, about 194, 000 children under five die annually as a result of diarrhoea in Nigeria.
“And since this can be averted when children are properly breast-fed for two years because it helps them develop immunity against such diseases, it becomes even more imperative that I urge mothers to ensure that their babies are breast-fed properly.
“Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that there is nothing that equals breast-feeding in proper nourishment for infants.
“Breast milk has the additional advantage of containing anti-bodies that protect the baby 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 general and breast cancers.”
In her speech, wife of the Benue state Governor, Arc Mrs. Yemisi Suswam, represented by the Managing Director of the Lower Benue River Basin Development Authority, Mrs Ada Chenge, enjoined mothers to take the issue of breastfeeding as a priority in order to safeguard the health of their children, mothers and the state in general.