The Lagos State government has appealed to the female civil servants in the state to take the advantage of the six months maternity leave approved for them to breastfeed their babies exclusively for healthy growth of the babies. The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, while speaking at the breastfeeding awareness week organised by a charity, Child Health Advocacy Initiative (CHAI) in collaboration with Ikeja Local Government Authority in Lagos noted that the state government is doing all in its power to ensure that child health is given the best of care.
He said that global leaders met in year 2000 and came up with eight point agenda known as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health and other issues to put global health in proper perspectives, stressing that one of the objectives was to reduce child morbidity and maternal mortality to the barest minimum. According to him the state government is doing all in its power to ensure that it substantially meets all the goals within the target date of 2015, while noting that the government has made provision for vaccines to reduce all known communicable diseases that claim lives of children in large numbers.
In Lagos State today, he noted that there is free medical treatment for children below the age of five years, so as to reduce the burden of out-of-pocket payment by parents and to encourage them to visit the health care institutions as soon as they notice that their children are ill. In her remarks, the founder of the charity, Mrs. Lola Alonge noted that the organization was set up to assist the governments at all levels to ensure that child health is given greater priority so as to reduce both maternal mortality and child morbidity in the country.
She appealed to mothers to breastfeed their babies for a period of six months exclusively, stressing that children that are fed for that number of months grow up to be healthy and brilliant in school. According to her, such children are also protected from childhood communicable diseases that kill them before the age of five years, while also stressing that breastfeeding a baby for six months will create the expected bond between the child and the mother