GINA, GUYANA, Sunday September, 18, 2016
Women have been urged to endorse exclusive breastfeeding which is the best option for the majority of infants.
“Today, I urge you all to continue to promote exclusive breast feeding in whatever way you can so that our babies can enjoy healthy lives from birth and that you use all available channels to spread the virtues of exclusive breast feeding.”
This was the charge given by the Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings during her feature address at the launch of National Breastfeeding Week 2016. Minister Cummings was at the time addressing participants of a walk- a- thon to kick off the week’s activities.
The walk- a- thon saw the participation of Minister Cummings, patient care assistants, and midwives and doctors of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
Launched under the theme, ‘Breastfeeding: a key to sustainable development’, the week of activities seeks to further equip maternal health care workers, mothers and even fathers with the requisite knowledge and information to achieve 100% exclusive breast feeding across Guyana.
Exclusive breastfeeding is a distinctive process that provides perfect nutrition for infants, and contributes to their growth and development.
The Public Health Ministry will be heightening promotion and awareness of the need for mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding.
Nurses and other maternal health care personnel also advocated for the implementation of the six-month exclusive breast feeding policy in Guyana since the current rate stands at only 23%, according to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report.
The World health Organisation (WHO) states that women should breastfeed their babies for six months since it reduces the risk of babies becoming infected, and it creates bonding between mother and child, and prevents ovarian cancer.
Minister Cummings said, “Registered dieticians, nutritionists and dietetic technicians should continue efforts to shift the norm of infant feeding away from the use of human milk substitute towards human milk feeds.”
Assistant Director of Nursing Services, Keith Alonzo highlighted that the theme for this year’s observance of national breast feeding week lends to creating awareness of the links between breast feeding and sustainable development.
Alonzo said there are five main areas related to breast feeding and the sustainable developments goals. These are nutrition and food security, health and well-being and survival for human beings, environment and climate change, work productivity empowerment, social protection and sustainable partnership and the rule of law.
National Breastfeeding Week will continue with a number of countrywide symposiums and workshops that will further educate mothers and promote exclusive breast feeding.