On Tuesday 1st August, 2023 the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) commenced a week long programme celebrating international breast feeding week with the theme for this year being “Enabling breast feeding – making a difference for working parents”. International breast feeding week commemorates the declaration signed in August 1990 by government policy makers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breast feeding.
This year, the celebration which the department of Paediatric organised was declared opened by Prof. Tamunopreye Jaja, the Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committe(DCMAC) who represented the Chief Medical Director (CMD) Prof. Henry A. Ugboma and the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) Prof. Datonye Alasia, after the programme was declared open, good will messages were delivered by the Head of Nursing Services (HNS) Mrs. Gloria Ogan and the Head of Paediatrics department Prof. Peace Opara.
Prof. Alice Nte, consultant paediatrician and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) coordinator UPTH delivered the key note lecture. In her lecture, she strongly emphasised the need for breast feeding stating that breast feeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need. She accent the need for breast milk over other alternatives because breast milk is easier for babies to digest, it protects against infections and breast cancer and it is also free.
Furthermore, Prof. Alice Nte advised parents to feed their children breast milk alone for the first 6 months then breast milk with other foods (complementary feeding) for 3 years. To achieve this, working mothers are strongly persuaded to seek for maternity leave, breast feeding breaks and a feeding room from their place of employment.
To raise strong and healthy children, breast milk is a must. According to Prof. Alice Nte “breast feeding is the best investment and breast feeding is very important “.