Barely a month after she gave birth to her first daughter, Halima Ibrahim took ill in late February, about the very same time Nigeria recorded its index case of COVID-19 in an Italian traveller.
” I was diagnosed with typhoid fever and I think it affected the quality of my breast milk since the child was not sucking”, Mrs Ibrahim, who deals with her video jockey (DJ) other half, Valentine, in an Abuja suburban area, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday night.
Due to the fact that of the situation, she was recommended by her medical professionals to desert her earlier plans of six months of exclusive breastfeeding and start shuffling breast milk with child food and water.
Special breastfeeding is when a baby receives just breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral re-hydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medications.
Special breastfeeding, specifically for the 6 months of the child life, is important as the nutrients they get enable them to grow both psychologically and physically, Mariam Ahmed, Global Youth Leader on Nutrition, said.
But sadly, not every lady does that. Mrs Ibrahim who suffered typhoid for more than 3 weeks while following the medical professional’s guideline is not geared up with the best information on the essence of total breastfeeding and the handling of an infant in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late March, she went back to the Asokoro General Hospital, Abuja where she was receiving counselling on breastfeeding.
Sadly, it was the very same week Nigeria imposed an overall lockdown on Abuja, Lagos and Ogun in a quote to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Africa’s most populous country.
Though the constraints did not use to medical facilities and other necessary employees, it minimized medical services in health organizations to the barest minimum.
She stated she lost out on special breastfeeding. “I continued with breast milk, baby food and water”.
COVID-19 Situation: Misinformation
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, like Mrs Ibrahim, a great deal of Nigerian women are missing out on unique breastfeeding, particularly due to misinformation about the nature of the illness and what needs to be done to prevent it.
The rate of special breastfeeding in Nigeria is one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. Even before the pandemic, 70 per cent of Nigerian babies were not being exclusively breastfed.
Breastfeeding programmes, which are currently under risk due to the pandemic, had assisted in enhancing breastfeeding behaviours in Nigeria.
In 2013, the Nigeria Demographic Health Study (NDHS) put the country’s exclusive breastfeeding at 17 percent. The rate was upped in the 2018 NDHS to 29 per cent
But the misinformation about COVID-19 has actually now been contributed to the mix of factors impeding unique breastfeeding.
When she was not allowed services at the health center, Mrs Ibrahim turned to second-hand info from other females.
But it is tough to separate the reality from fallacy without appropriate medical counsel, as COVID-19 has actually brought with it a wave of rumours, mixed messages and deliberate misinformation across Nigeria.
This is putting a stress on Nigeria’s target of utilizing exclusive breastfeeding to take on Serious Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in kids under 5.
SAM or extremely low weight-for-height, is approximated to affect about a million children under age 5 in Nigeria every year, adding to as lots of as 100,000 deaths per year.
The advancement of SAM in infants under six months of age frequently reflects sub-optimal feeding practices, particularly breastfeeding practices, the World Health Company (WHO) stated.
WHO said SAM is increasingly being acknowledged in babies and is frequently associated with higher mortality in young infants than in older babies and children.
” Nigeria is making development however it is sluggish and as it stands, if we do not put extra efforts then the nation is not likely to satisfy the World Health assembly targets of 60 per cent of babies being specifically breastfed by 2025,” Simeon Nanama, a Chief Nutritionist, United Country’s Children Fund (UNICEF), said.
While there is little improvement, health specialists think the present rate is still far below worldwide standard and off-track from the 60 per cent target by2025 As of 2016, neighbouring Ghana currently had an exclusiveJus breastfeeding rate of 52 per cent.
” The nation was already off-track even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Mr Nanama. “The pandemic that can be found in represents another obstacle for unique breastfeeding with the probability of even drawing down the level of development.
” This is since COVID-19 includes so many things like fear from the mothers that breastfeeding when they feel like they are ill may contaminate the baby or the reverse.
” Also the fact that the lockdown and other measures have actually put lots of families in extremely intricate tough financial circumstances where they are having a hard time to even put food on the table. We understand extremely well that when the mother is not well fed, milk can not be produced enough to meet the requirements of the infant.”
As Nigeria continues to see surging COVID-19 cases, health centers around the nation are restricting visitors and unneeded contact inside their buildings to prevent the spread of the extremely infectious infection.
Tayo Fatinikun, a social and health development supporter, said the situation has interfered with medical services with some families “caught up in the notion of not breastfeeding their babies to prevent COVID-19”
World Breastfeeding Week
The 2020 World Breastfeeding Week, which ranges from August 1 to August 7, highlights the importance of protecting and promoting females’s access to knowledgeable breastfeeding counselling as a vital component of breastfeeding assistance.
This year’s theme for the week is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier world”.
Celebrating the event, WHO on Sunday stated competent counselling services can ensure mothers and families get this assistance, together with the information, recommendations, and reassurance they require to nourish their infants in the best way.
” Breastfeeding counselling can assist mothers to develop confidence while respecting their individual scenarios and choices,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, and WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, in their joint statement.
” Counselling can empower females to get rid of challenges and prevent feeding and care practices that might disrupt optimum breastfeeding, such as the arrangement of unnecessary liquids, foods, and breast milk substitutes to babies and young children.”
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Mrs Ibrahim stated if she had actually continued her routine check out to the health center, she would have had a much better understanding on how to feed her infant.
” It’s my very first kid so I don’t truly know much. The pandemic truly altered a lot of things. There is no task so I no longer get money to even purchase great baby food. Sometimes, I provide her all sort of strong food consisting of rice and swallow,” she stated.
Though coronavirus does not go through breast milk, there is an opportunity of spread through respiratory droplets and contacts, health experts state.
” This can be minimised if proper infection prevention and control measures are observed”, Mr Fatinikun, the health development supporter, said. “It is necessary to clean your hands frequently together with utilizing an alcohol-based sanitiser before touching the infant”.
The health advocate likewise recommended utilizing face masks when breastfeeding to avoid the spread of infection via breathing droplets.
” It is likewise essential to guarantee that all surface areas that the mom touches are disinfected routinely”, he said.
” What we know so far is that the infection can not be transmitted through milk especially when the mother is passing the existing COVID-19 procedures of using masks among others”, Mr Nanama, the UNICEF nutritional expert said.
” It will need a restored effort by government and other partners to ensure we continue to empower women and give them the information required to make the very best choices for themselves and the infants.”