In a concerted effort to promote the health and well-being of infants in Oyo State, the government has called upon healthcare practitioners to champion the cause of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life while discouraging the use of formulas or other substitutes.

During the Oyo State Friendly Hospital Initiative training course for healthcare workers, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health,Dr. Olusoji Adeyanju, emphasized the critical importance of breastfeeding. 

He underscored that breast milk is the best nourishment for newborns and urged nursing mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding as a top priority.

This initiative received support from the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN), in collaboration with the World Bank. 

The two organizations provided training to stakeholders on the Implementation of the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI), designed to encourage and support breastfeeding practices among women throughout the state.

The Director of Medical Services at the Oyo State Hospital Management Board and a consultant obstetrician, Dr. Olufemi Adesanya, reinforced the message. 

He stressed that healthcare professionals should enable nursing mothers to breastfeed, even while in the operating room, with infants being put to the breast within thirty minutes of birth.

The Director of Nutrition and Project Coordinator at ANRiN in Oyo State, Dr. Khadijat Alarape, further emphasized the importance of the Baby-Friendly Initiative. She urged healthcare workers to educate nursing mothers about the dangers of malnutrition resulting from inadequate breastfeeding and emphasized the need to eradicate this issue from society.

The Director of Nursing Services in the Oyo State Ministry of Health, Dr. Oyebode Arinade Omokehinde, warned against the use of pacifiers during the first six months, citing their potential to undermine breastfeeding and lead to infections, malnutrition, low immunity, and dental issues.

Master trainer of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, Dr. Mrs. Funmi Olusa, provided assurance to pregnant women, assuaging concerns about their ability to breastfeed successfully, regardless of breast size or shape.

As part of the initiative, healthcare practitioners visited Adeoyo Hospital , Yemetu Ibadan,to assess the level of compliance with best practices and sensitize pregnant women and nursing mothers about the importance of proper breastfeeding techniques. 

Facilitators reiterated the significance of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of an infant’s life and highlighted the adverse consequences of failing to do so, including stunting and impaired brain growth.

The initiative also aims to counteract cultural practices that involve giving water and other liquids to infants, which can act as barriers to exclusive breastfeeding. 

Healthcare workers are dedicated to discouraging these practices and educating nursing mothers and caregivers about the immense benefits of exclusive breastfeeding during the crucial first six months of life.

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