Expert says exclusive breastfeeding averts 13% of newborn deaths

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A nutrition specialist, Mrs Ada Ezeogu, says 13 per cent of newborn deaths can be averted if 90 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.

Ezeogu made the assertion in Igbara Oke on Wednesday during a five-day workshop organised by the Ondo State Ministry of Information in collaboration with UNICEF.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop had the theme: “Production of Radio Scripts on Facts for Life’’.

Part of the objectives for developing the radio programme was to create the much needed awareness on facts of life topics.



The topics discussed include: exclusive breastfeeding, immunisation, open defecation, hand washing with soap and water, and essential new born care.

Ezeogu, a staff of the UNICEF said that children that were breastfed had six times greater chances of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children.

“An exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than non-breastfed child.

“And breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infection and diarrhea, two major child killers,’’ she said.

Ezeogu said that an exclusively breastfed child would do better on intelligence and behaviour tests than formula-fed babies.

Dr Adebola Hassan, a health specialist with UNICEF, reiterated the importance of immunisation to children.

Hassan said that wrong notions about immunisation must be corrected through partnership with the media.

“Immunisation has been a cost effective public health intervention in prevention of childhood diseases,’’ Hassan said. (NAN)

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