Paediatrician says breast milk can treat conjunctivitis in neonates

Date: 2017-09-10

A Nigerian expert, Prof. Samuel Ernest, has said that breast milk has effective antibacterial activities in curing conjunctivitis in neonates.

Prof. Ernest of the College of Health Sciences of the University of Ilorin, stated this on Saturday in Ilorin during his 171st inaugural paper presentation, entitled: "Adventures in Childhood Morbidity,Prevention and Mortality Reduction.

The expert in child health explained that breast milk could also help mothers to treat their babies with conjunctivitis in refugee camps or Internally Displaced Persons' (IDPs) camps where medical supplies can run out temporarily.

"I did extensive work on neonatal conjunctivitis; this ranged from determination of its prevalence, the causes, the antibiotic sensitivity patterns of the organisms causing it to the efficacy of breast milk and sulphacetamide eye drops.

"We discovered that chlamydia which was the leading cause of blindness in adults, was also one of the leading causes of conjunctivitis among neonates," said the paediatrician, who added that breast milk is packed with antibodies giving it countless other uses among which is treating eye infections.

He said that breast milk could, therefore, help and be useful in hard-to-reach places or areas that faced difficulty accessing health care. Neonatal conjunctivitis, also known as ophthalmia neonatorum, is a form of conjunctivitis and a type of neonatal infection contracted by newborns during delivery.

The baby's eyes are contaminated during passage through the birth canal from a mother infected with either Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis.

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