Media Release: Nigerian Woman Studies to Become Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Trainer
Schaumburg, IL (July, 2002) Gloria Okemuo, who was the first to start a breastfeeding support group in Nigeria, has traveled from Lagos to Schaumburg to complete her training as a La Leche League International Peer Counselor Program Administrator. This training will equip her with the knowledge and skills to train other mothers to become Peer Counselors. These women are then qualified to hold breastfeeding support groups and answer mothers' questions about breastfeeding.
Traditionally most Nigerian women and, indeed, most women in Africa, breastfed their children. In recent years, however, many Nigerian women have tried to copy what they believe is the western style of bottle-feeding. Gloria Okemuo's goal is to help Nigerian women, "take back their culture of breastfeeding."
Since the breastfeeding culture has declined in Nigeria, many myths have developed around breastfeeding. For example, some Nigerian women believe that if they do not breastfeed for twenty-four hours they cannot resume breastfeeding because their milk will turn sour. Gloria Okemuo will provide the necessary knowledge, skills and support to help these women breastfeed.
Okemuo, who first heard about La Leche League International through their Web site, traveled with her three-year old daughter, Chi-Chi Okemuo, and almost two-year old son Arinze Okemuo, Jr., at great personal expense and with support of her husband. They took a tedious nine-hour direct flight to the USA to undergo this breastfeeding program training. Mrs. Okemuo is also preparing to become a La Leche League Leader.
Okemuo tried to travel to Chicago for the La Leche League Conference International Conference in 2001 but was denied a visa. With much persistence, she was finally granted a visa to come to the USA to study this June. She is seeking funding and hopes to return to the US for the next international conference to be held in San Francisco, July 3-6, 2003.
La Leche League International,
the world's foremost authority on breastfeeding support, has groups
in 63 different countries that offer mother-to-mother information, education,
and support. The organization was founded by seven women in a Chicago
suburb in 1956. For further information visit the LLLI Web site at www.lalecheleague.org