Ebonyi State Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike, on Tuesday disclosed that about 25 persons have died of coronavirus disease in Ebonyi State.
Umezuruike who hinted this in Abakaliki, during a press briefing to mark the World Breastfeeding week, advised phone users to disinfect their phones intermittently against COVID-19.
He said that Ebonyi state has recorded about 871 confirmed cases, 804 have been discharged, and 36 active cases are still at different isolation centers in the state, even as some patients are on home isolation.
The commissioner emphasized the importance of mother’s breastfeeding their children, stating that reason for the breastfeeding week was to galvanize support for breastfeeding and for mothers to go back to that culture of breastfeeding their children up to two years.
He said six months exclusive breastfeeding protects a child from diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, pneumonia, while it protests the mother from cancers of the breast, cervix and uterus. He advised breastfeeding mothers to keep general hygiene.
“A child needs to be breastfed starting from 30mins to one hour after delivery to six months exclusive breastfeeding. Feeding with breast milk is natural, and has complete nutrition. Then complimentary feeding should be introduced after six months while breastfeeding should be continued to 2years. Any child that is fed that way behaves like a human being because of the mother and child bonding. Breastfeeding is a critical part of a sustainable feeding system
“Because of the importance of breastfeeding, the world since 1990 set aside August 1-7 of every year to celebrate breastfeeding. And in Ebonyi state since we came on board we always celebrate it because it’s important to us”.
Umezuruike said HIV positive mothers can initiate breastfeeding of their baby from 30mins to one hour of birth, and can do six months exclusive breastfeeding and should continue to breastfeed up to 2years provided they are judiciously taking antiretroviral drugs.
He said Ebonyi state government has come up with measures such as breastfeeding public awareness campaign, radio and television giggles to support exclusive breastfeeding, while mothers who are civil servants are giving four months paid maternity leave and upon resumption, they close by midday so as to go home and breastfeed their children.
“A Breastfeeding mother suspected to be having COVID-19 has to be isolated at home, if she experiences breath difficulty and other COVID-19 symptoms, they can still breastfeed and in doing so, she should use a facemask while breastfeeding. If skin to skin contact is not feasible, the mother can express her breast milk and give to the infant. Breast milk has some anti infective agents especially that first one, the cholestrom”, he added