Risk Of Breast Cancer, Hypertension Reduced By Breastfeeding
According to Elhaji Diop, a Nutrition Manager with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kano Field Office, maternal breastfeeding helps in decreasing the risk of breast cancer.
Diop disclosed this during the launch of the ‘Stronger with Breast Milk Only” Campaign as part of the celebration of 2022 World Breastfeeding Week held in Mashi Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State.
He states that breastfeeding also decreases the risk of ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and type-2 diabetes mellitus. He explained that infants who were breastfed had a decreased risk of atopic dermatitis and gastroenteritis and possessed a higher IQ later in life.
“Breastfeeding as we know plays an important role in managing malnutrition.”
He explained it also provided food security and reduced inequality and was the single most powerful means to fight poverty and disease, “Despite the compelling evidence that breastfeeding contributes substantially to improve child survival and development, key messages have not reached communities. And the overall nutritional status of children in Katsina State has only slightly improved over the last decade.”
The UN nutritionist said that the state was still among the country’s highest child mortality rates, stunting prevalence as well as some of the lowest rates of many recommended infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices.
“For instance, according to the recently launched 2021 MICS survey, exclusive breastfeeding rate in the state is 21.3 percent, far below the national rate of 34 percent. This means that only two out of 10 babies are exclusively breastfed in Katsina State.”
He then added that breastfeeding benefitted the state by helping lower health care costs and increasing educational attainment and ultimately boosting productivity, saying, “There is evidence today that every N1,000 invested in supporting optimal breastfeeding, can generate an estimated N35,000 in economic returns for Nigeria. There is no doubt that breastfeeding is essential to the attainment of the SDGs in the country, and the Nigerian children hold the great future of this country.”
He said that the best legacy for a Katsina State of our dreams was to invest in interventions that promoted, protected, and acted for the 3Es of breastfeeding.
Mr. Diop said that in order to ensure that the efforts were stepped up, UNICEF was calling upon governments as well as other stakeholders in the health and allied sectors to step up and support breastfeeding.