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World Breastfeeding Week - Wellbeing Foundation Africa Launches Neonatal Intensive Care Lactation Support Pilot Program; Enabling And Empowering Buccal Colostrum, Breastfeeding For Premature And Sick Infants

Since 2011, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Mamacare midwives have supported and promoted the World Health Organisation's Ten Steps To Breastfeeding in 655 health centres and hospitals across its Mamacare, Mamacare+N and Alive and Thrive Infant and Young Child Feeding, birth preparedness, antenatal and postnatal education programmes, to enable and empower infant and young child nutrition from multiple levels and channels, creating a Baby Friendly environment, conducive to optimal mother and baby breastfeeding practices.


Through institutional and community advocacy, along with one-on-one and class based interpersonal communication, counsel and care, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa overcomes barriers to early and exclusive breastfeeding, improving the diets and frequency of meals in young children in Nigeria.

As part of the week-long activities to mark this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa today donated breastfeeding equipment to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of selected medical facilities in Lagos, Kwara and Kaduna States and Abuja, FCT to bring this year’s event to a conclusion. These donations are aimed at mitigating the challenges health facilities face with regards to providing optimal neonatal intensive care feeding of premature and sick infants, ensuring that fragile neonates may more easily benefit from the immunity provided from colostrum, which serves as the first immunity for newborns.


The Wellbeing Foundation's Mamacare Program Baby Friendly Initiative Programs are committed to enhancing mother and baby health through the life-giving benefits of breastmilk. During this time, the Foundation has focused on understanding mothers’ needs and infants’ behaviour. The health of both mothers and their infants during the precious breastfeeding period is at the centre of all activities.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa continues to harness global research findings into human milk and breastfeeding, and incorporates the outcomes into innovative breastfeeding support programs.

Through new discoveries surrounding the components of human milk, the anatomy of the lactating breast and how the infant removes milk from the breast, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has committed to providing a developed set of solutions to support Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) in providing human milk and improving breastfeeding.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa understands the challenges of providing human milk in the NICU, from the mother’s side to reach an adequate milk supply and from the infant’s side to ingest the milk; plus issues of hygiene and logistics.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Lactation Support Pilot Program is directed towards obtaining human milk, promoting human milk feeding, and supporting all infants in achieving breastfeeding as early as possible.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Neonatal Intensive Care Lactation Support Program aims to provide the most recent, evidence-based knowledge to support breastfeeding and human milk use in the NICU. The goal of the innovative, research-based products, together with the educational materials, is to overcome the difficulties associated with human milk provision in the NICU.

This World Breastfeeding Week, which has the theme “Empower Parents; Enable Breastfeeding”, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has provided state-of-the-art Medela products to these facilities. The facilities that will be benefitting from this donation include Lagos Island Maternity, Omotayo Hospital and Lifeline Children’s Hospital in Lagos State, Bwari General Hospital and Maitama General Hospital in Abuja, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and General Hospital Ilorin in Kwara State, and Giwa Hospital in Kaduna State.


In her statement, the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, commented:

"The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is pleased to be donating these Medela products to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of these selected hospitals across Lagos, Kwara, Kaduna States and Abuja. This is part of our foundation’s goal to improve newborn health across the country, reducing neonatal mortality."

"I am pleased to support this NICU Pilot in Nigeria to promote early (within the first 48 hours of life) buccal administration of mother’s own milk, and specifically colostrum, to reduce rates of Necrotising Enterocolitis, late onset invasive infections, and mortality in preterm infants."

 "We are also keen on building on the successes of our MamaCare Antenatal and Postnatal Education programme and the Alive and Thrive Infant and Young Child Feeding programme this World Breastfeeding Week, both of which have significantly contributed to the improvement of newborn nutrition, especially the promotion of early initiation to breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and proper complimentary feeding after six months."


"We are encouraged by the progress achieved through our various programmes and we are determined to use this World Breastfeeding Week to carry out more milestone projects, of which this donation to healthcare facilities across the country is just one. It is our responsibility as stakeholders to provide strategic solutions to the challenges of stunting, wasting, under-weight and general malnutrition in infants and young children, and ensure their healthy growth and development. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa recognizes and promotes the importance of breast milk for premature and sick neonates as the first and optimal nutrition in fragile situations.”


Malnutrition accounts for more than 50% of under-five mortality in states across Nigeria. Infant Mortality rate is at 103 per 1000 live births (NDHS 2013), while under-5 mortality rates are at 169 per 1000 live births (NDHS 2013). The rate of timely breastfeeding initiation is 28.9% (MICS 2017), with only 19.7% of children being exclusively breastfed (MICS 2017), and only 10% of children aged 6 – 23 months were fed appropriately. Within the State, 11.7% of children are wasted from acute under nutrition, 47% of children under-5 years are stunted, while 34% are under weight (MICs 2017).

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