…As Health Commissioner says 800,000 babies die of poor breastfeeding globally each year***
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Thursday said that no fewer than 21 persons lost their lives in an auto crash on the old Enugu – Okigwe road.
The accident involved a low-bed articulated vehicle and a fully-loaded 608 Mercedes Benz bus conveying school children and their teachers.
It happened precisely at the Nkwo Junction of the road at about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, when the school children were returning home.
The FRSC Sector Commander in Enugu State, Mr Ogbonnaya Kalu, confirmed the accident and the number of deaths in Enugu.
Kalu said that the FRSC Unit in Awgu had been to the scene of the accident and hospitals where the victims were receiving medical attention.
According to him, the fully-loaded school bus had 64 occupants, which included 61 students/pupils, two teachers and the driver.
“The low-bed trailer, which eyewitnesses alleged suffered a brake system failure, rammed into the School bus first and into a welder’s shop, where the welder and his apprentice were working,’’ he said.
An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the low-bed vehicle lost control and rammed into a big school bus conveying some secondary and primary school children home.
He said the sad accident threw a lot of families within the Agwu axis of the state into mourning as a family allegedly lost three of its kids.
“The driver of the heavy-duty vehicle ran away from the scene of the accident after forcing the vehicle to a halt inside the bush,’’ the eye witness said
In another development, the Commissioner for Health in Ekiti, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, says no fewer than 800,000 babies die of poor breastfeeding yearly across the globe.
Filani said this at a news conference to commemorate the 2020 edition of the breastfeeding week on Thursday in Ado Ekiti.
According to him, poor breastfeeding is largely responsible for the high infant mortality rate in the country.
He, however, noted that the incident was gradually being checkmated following the advent of exclusive breastfeeding and improved medical practices.
The commissioner said Ekiti was rated as having 55.4 per cent compliance with the first six months exclusive breastfeeding policy it initiated in 2019.
He said that the improvement in the state was due to the proactive action taken by Gov. Kayode Fayemi in terms of increased sensitisation.
“Findings have shown that investing in breastfeeding will prevent 13 per cent of child deaths and morbidity if 90 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants, for the first six months of life.
“Globally, only 38 per cent of infants are exclusively breastfed and suboptimal breastfeeding contributes to 800,000 infant deaths globally on annual basis.
“So, any baby who is exclusively breastfed for the first six months without any formula, has fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea and has fewer hospitalisations and trips to the doctor.
“It is so significant that it has helped to remove the myth and unacceptable use of herbs and concoctions for neonate and young children,” he stated.
Filani added that exclusive breastfeeding, aside from reducing the rate of child mortality, would also rake in an estimated sum of $150 million into the country’s economy yearly.
The commissioner noted that as part of the policy that would enhance adequate care for infants in Ekiti, six months had been approved for maternity leave for female civil servants.
He added that the government was also considering granting paternity leave to the male civil servants, to make both parents responsible for the care of their newborns.
Filani then appealed to mothers to refrain from unwholesome cultural practices, mandating giving of water and other fluids to newborns and embrace exclusive breastfeeding.
He added that this would assist in boosting the baby’s immunities, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality rates in the system.