From Tuesday 1 August until Monday 7 August, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa alongside the global health community advocated for exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6- months of a newborn's life.
The organisation also emphasized the importance of respecting the mother’s choice and providing medical and emotional support to mothers whilst breastfeeding.
The Founder HE Toyin Ojora Saraki stated: “The benefits of exclusive breastfeeding are key for our communities, country and continent. Global and national policy communities need to rapidly implement a breastfeeding orientation communications campaign, to better educate expectant mothers on how to lactate and nurse.”
“ If we increase the number of mothers exclusively breastfeeding their children, we will increase the health of nation, which will improve our economy through its demographic dividend. The potential of change through exclusive breastfeeding is transformational and I hope all mothers adopt it, for themselves, their children, and the nation.”
“ I would like to call on health workers, families and partners to also increase their support for new mothers who are breastfeeding, emotionally and medically. At times breastfeeding can be very difficult for a mother and at other times near to impossible. We must remain respectful and supportive, and never guilt or shame mothers who cannot breastfeed, as we all know that every mother wants best for her child.”- HE Toyin Ojora-Saraki ended.
On the ground in Nigeria, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) attended several events to mark the week-long advocacy, including the launch of the Global Breastfeeding Collective in Abuja Nigeria. The WBFA MamaCare classes also focused on breastfeeding benefits and methods for the week, where midwives taught mothers how to properly position the child for lactation. All MamaCare midwives are highly skilled and trained lactation consultants. MamaCare antenatal and postnatal classes are held all year long and it is here that midwives educate mothers on how to take care of their bodies and their newborns. The classes take place in 27 clinics across Nigeria in Lagos, Kwara and Abuja.
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa also supported the launch of the Global Breastfeeding Collective which was set up by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ministry of Health of Indonesia and also the First Lady of Nigeria Mrs. Aisha Buhari. The Collective is a partnership of 20 international agencies with the goal of increasing investment in breastfeeding worldwide. The call to action for the Collective can be read here.