Ministry of Public Health, Guyana, Tuesday, September 20, 2016
“Breast is best”, was the chorus that was boisterously repeated by nurses and other public health professionals, who took to the streets of New Amsterdam on Monday, to stage a rally to commemorate Breastfeeding Week 2016.
Nurses and health professionals from Skeldon to New Amsterdam participated enthusiastically in this rally to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding. This year, Breastfeeding Week is being celebrated under the theme: Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development.
Director of Health Services – Region Six, Jevaughn Stephen in addressing the gathering at the rally underscored the importance of raising awareness about the many benefits of breastfeeding, particularly exclusive breastfeeding. Stephen noted that spreading the awareness of the many virtues of breastfeeding is a continuous one that must go well beyond Breastfeeding Week.
Regional Chairman of Region Six, David Armogan noted that in many parts of the world because of contemporary fashionable trends most likely, many mothers do not see breastfeeding as the most viable option for their babies, resulting in many babies being raised on breastmilk substitutes. Armogan commended the Ministry of Public Health and particularly its Region Six office for placing the spotlight again on the importance of breastfeeding.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, in her address to the rally spoke of the intrinsic value of breastfeeding and its role in helping all to achieve Sustainable Development Goal No. 3, which is “Good Health and Well-Being”.
“It cannot be overemphasised that breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illnesses,” Minister Cummings affirmed.
Minister Cummings further stated that the Ministry of Public Health will continue to work tirelessly at promoting the virtues of exclusive breastfeeding nationwide in the hope of having it resonate with mothers throughout Guyana. “We at the Ministry of Public Health will do our part to ensure that the public health and other relevant sectors protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for up to two years of age or beyond, while providing women access to the support they require – in the family, community and workplace – to achieve this goal,” Minister Cummings stated.
Breastfeeding Week activities are organised annually by the Maternal and Child Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health, and are primarily designed to bring heightened awareness of the many advantages of breastfeeding, more so, exclusive breastfeeding.