It has been revealed that of the 79% of pregnant women who go for ante-natal in Cross River State, only 59% of them deliver in hospitals. The remaining 20%, use the services of spiritual homes and traditional birth attendants, who in most cases provide no skilled birth attendance.
Regina Adie, Director of Nutrition, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, CRSPHCDA, made this revelation at the start of a two-day Social Behavioural Change Communication, SBCC, Skills Building Workshop in Calabar, organised by the CRSPHCDA, with the support of FHI360/Alive & Thrive, for selected media personnel, focusing on Infant and Young Child Feeding.
Adie further revealed that most of these spiritual homes do not only financially exploit the women but also endanger their lives by administering birth procedures that are at variance with time tested and life saving medical science procedures. “We have had to go talk to most of these spiritual homes, especially the ones run by established religious organizations but it is still difficult to do away with this unfortunate situation, but we are working hard at getting it right”, she said.
On breastfeeding in the state, the Director informed that only 44.4% of women in the state breastfeed their children, while only 7.8% of them do exclusive breastfeeding, in spite of the immense benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. “Let mothers embrace exclusive breastfeeding and early initiation, especially within the first hour after delivery. Most of them do not know that the production of breast milk starts when the baby starts suckling, not when they start taking palm wine after delivery, because breastfeeding is a hormonal thing.”
Fayman Omini, CRS Coordinator, Alive & Thrive, told www.calitown.com in a separate interview that for breastfeeding figures in the state to go up, government and the people must invest in policies that will create an enabling environment for the practice of breastfeeding. These policies will include legislation that extends maternity leave as well as the encourage the building of creches in all work places.
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