Benue State First Lady, Arc Mrs. Yemisi Suswam has attributed the rise in child mortality in the country to the failure of mothers to adhere strictly to World Health Organisation recommendations on six months exclusive breastfeeding for babies.
Suswam who spoke at Idekpa during the grand finale of the 2011 Breast Feeding Week regretted that mothers have jettisoned the age long tradition of breastfeeding their children for upward of two years despite its implication on the health of their babies.
Her words: "Malnutrition is responsible, directly or indirectly for about one third of deaths among children under five. Well above two thirds of these deaths are often associated with inappropriate feeding practices, and they occur during the first year of life.
"I am calling on healthcare providers, employers, policymakers, researchers and the community at large to support mothers in reaching their personal breastfeeding goals in order to avert these preventable deaths", she added.
Earlier in a paper titled, 'Talk to me! Breastfeeding-A 3D Experience', Dr. Silas Ochejele pointed out that despite the fact that breastfeeding is one of the key child survival strategies; there has been a steady decline in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding from 17 to 13 percent in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Benue state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Orduen Abunku said the state was partnering UNICEF 'A' field office to encourage and improve the breastfeeding rate in the state.
"This is aimed at not only meeting the 13 percent national record but also surpass it by 2015", he stated.