A professor of paediatrics at the University of Ibadan, Ikeoluwa Lagunju, has stressed the need to protect the brains of infants in order to reduce child disability in Nigeria.
Lagunju stated this at the inaugural lecture she delivered at the University of Ibadan on Thursday evening.
According to Lagunju who spoke on ‘Taming the Scourge: Panacea for the Dreaded Brain Catastrophes, ” an infant’s brain is very delicate.
“One of the major reasons is that the infant or the child’s brain is very delicate and the first two years of life are the period of maximal brain growth– from the time a woman gets pregnant to the time the baby clocks two.
“So we must protect the brain, if we don’t, a number of diseases can happen which include cerebral palsy and epilepsy,” she said.
She said pregnant women need to get supervised delivery to prevent neurological defects in infants.
” All women must deliver in good hospitals or health centres that are well-equipped and where the baby can be well taken care of.
“Children that are ill must be promptly taken to a proper hospital so that they are well taken care of.
“Pregnant women should not try to deliver at home, don’t call your neighbours to take the delivery or anybody who is not trained to do so.
“Also, nursing mothers should breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life and thereafter you can add other complementary feed.
“You must keep breastfeeding the baby till the baby is two years old,” Lagunju said.
She, however, urged the government to improve healthcare delivery in the country.