…871 Cases, 804 Discharged, 36 Active Cases
By Esther Nworie and Agnes Nworie
Commissioner for Health in Ebonyi State, Dr. Daniel Umezuruike Tuesday, said the State has recorded about 25 deaths Coronavirus disease.
Umezuruike spoke in Abakaliki, during a media chat to mark the 2020 World Breastfeeding week.
He however advised phone users to disinfect their phones intermittently against COVID-19.
According to him, Ebonyi state has recorded about 25 deaths, 871 confirmed cases of the virus, 804 have been discharged, and 36 active cases are still at different isolation centers in the state. He said some patients are on home isolation.
On breastfeeding, Umezurike emphasized the importance of mothers breastfeeding their children, noting that reason for the breastfeeding week was to rally support for breastfeeding and for mothers to go back to that culture of breastfeeding their children up to two years.
He said six months exclusive breastfeeding protects a child from diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, pneumonia, while it protests the mother from cancers of the breast, cervix and uterus. He advised breastfeeding mothers to keep general hygiene.
Dr Umezurike said, “A child needs to be breastfeed starting from 30mins to one hour after delivery to six months exclusive breastfeeding.”
“Feeding with breast milk is natural, and has complete nutrition. Then complimentary feeding should be introduced after six months and be continued to 2years. Any child that is fed that way behaves like a human being because of the mother and child bonding. Breastfeeding is a critical part of a sustainable feeding system.
“Because of the importance of breastfeeding, the world since 1990 set aside August 1-7 of every year to celebrate breastfeeding. And in Ebonyi since we came on board, we always celebrate it because it’s important to us.”
Umezuruike said HIV positive mothers can initiate breastfeeding of their baby from 30mins to one hour of birth, and can do six months exclusive breastfeeding and should continue to breastfeed up to 2years so long as they are judiciously taking anti-retroviral drugs.
He said Ebonyi state government has come up with measures such as breastfeeding public awareness campaign, radio and television giggles to support exclusive breastfeeding, while mothers who are civil servants are giving four months paid maternity leave and upon resumption, they close by midday so as to go home and breastfeed their children.
“Breastfeeding mothers suspected to be having COVID-19 have to be isolated at home, if she experiences breath difficult and other COVID-19 symptoms, they can still breastfeed and in doing so, she should use a facemask while breastfeeding. If skin to skin contact is not feasible, the mother can express her breast milk and give to the infant. Breast milk has some anti infective agents especially that first one, the colostrums.”
Baby friendly Initiative Coordinator, with Ebonyi State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Ngozi Orji Nkama said breastfeeding is the first immunization for new born babies.
She outlined the benefits of breastfeeding, stressing that it serves as the first Immunization for a child and boost their health.
Speaking on the theme of the 2020 world immunization week celebration, “support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”, Mrs. Nkama called on the media to help promote breastfeeding projects in the country.
“Breastfeeding they said is the foundation of life, this year’s theme says “support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”, the general pledge says “I want to be part of the work to protect, promote and support breastfeeding”.
“We are relying on the media to help promote this project. Breastfeeding has many advantages, it is the first immunization a child can get, it serves as the first and best food for a child, in the right temperature, quantity, and in the right proportion for everything a child needs is contained in it.
“We are advocating that a mother should also continue with the right complementary food till after 6 months and with breastfeeding till two years and beyond provided there is no underline ill health. She said.