The Malawi Goverment through the Ministry of Health has today launched World Breastfeeding Week at Chimutu community Ground under the theme ” Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support.”
This week is about spreading awareness about the importance of breastfeeding and its need in the lives of babies and mothers.
The event was graced by Minister of Health Hon Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda.
Speaking at the launch, Chiponda said breastfeeding is the first practical step taken to protect the health of babies and mothers.
She added that breastfeeding is the foundation of life and contributes to short and long-term health, good nutrition and food security in non- emergency and emergency situations.
She then suggested that both private and public should set aside some spaces where female staff on breastfeeding can use to feed their babies.
“As we commemorate the week, I call upon each one of us to create time, space and support for breastfeeding for breastfeeding women and women going back to work in both formal and the non-formal sectors to breastfeed to exclusively breastfeed in the first six months of life and continue breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods after 6 months until two years or beyond for child survival and
development for a healthy and prosperous nation.
“During this World Breastfeeding Week, we are reminded that protecting breastfeeding is a shared responsibility. It is time for all of us to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action to protect and support breastfeeding. This will help ensure survival, health and wellbeing for children and their families, and is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, leaving no one behind.
Breastfeeding is also a human right that needs to be respected, protected and fulfilled,” said Chiponda.
She then advised young women against shunning breastfeeding in order to maintain their body shape, saying this is putting lives of their children at risk.
According to Chiponda, the Ministry of Health has lined up several activities to observe the week such as promoting breastfeeding through breastfeeding jingles on national and community radios and television and strengthening activities at hospital level and community level through community level structures such as care groups.
In her remarks, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Dr. Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo said breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.
“Breast milk is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life,” explained Kimambo.
Kimambo also noted that WHO is currently supporting Malawi in training health workers to provide skilled support to breastfeeding mothers, help them overcome problems, and monitor the growth of children.
According to Kimambo, WHO reaffirms its commitment to continue to support the Government of Malawi to improve infant feeding by HIV-infected mothers to prevent mother-to-child transmission, ensure good nutrition of the baby and protect the health of the mother.
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