The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) has shown that out of 1,000 newly-born children in Osun State, 56 die within 28 days of their birth.
The data also indicated that 78 out of 1,000 children in the state die before they are 12 months old. It also revealed that 101 out of 1,000 children in the state die before they are five years old.
The Director, Department of Nutrition Services & Health Education (DNSHE) of the Osun Primary Health Care Development Board (OPHCDB), Dr James Oloyede, said such deaths would be avoidable if women in the state practised exclusive breastfeeding.
At a sensitization programme organised yesterday for women groups in the state, Oloyede declared that the figure was unacceptable and the situation must be dealt with.
He urged mothers-in-law to support their daughters-in-law to practise exclusive breast-feeding.
The OPHCDB Director commended the state governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, for setting up a steering committee on breastfeeding, while urging representatives of women groups in the state to disseminate the exclusive breast-feeding message to their various communities and become its advocate.
A public health specialist in the Board, Mr Michael Izuchukwu, advised women in the state to imbibe the exclusive breast-feeding culture to ensure that their children stay alive in sound health.
He noted that breast milk already contained 88.1 per cent of water and cautioned nursing mothers to desist from giving water or any liquid to their children in the first six months of the baby’s life.
Izuchukwu said, “The baby needs only breast milk to make him or her stay alive, healthy and brilliant. Exclusive breast-feeding has the potential to save more children’s lives than any other preventive intervention. In fact, a study has shown that an estimated 13 per cent of child deaths could be averted if 90 per cent of mothers exclusively breast-feed their infants for the first six months of life.
“Breast-fed children have, at least, six times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children. An exclusively breast-fed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child.”