Fiji Sun - - Nation -

The Min­istry of Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices has recorded an 89 per cent of in­fants con­tinue to breast­feed into the first two years af­ter birth.

As­sis­tant Min­ster for Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices, Venna Bhatnagar, made the com­ment while launch­ing the breast­feed­ing week and nu­tri­tion month in Tavua hos­pi­tal on Mon­day. “The Min­istry has noted an im­prove­ment in ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing rates in Fiji,” she said.

This is ac­cord­ing to the lat­est na­tional nu­tri­tion sur­vey 2015 that in­di­cated an in­crease from 40 per cent in 2014 to 53 per cent last year. “Also, the me­dian du­ra­tion o0f breast­feed­ing has im­proved from seven months in 2014 to nine months in 2015,” she said.

“Breast­feed­ing is the best food for new­borns and in­fants as it pro­vides them all nu­tri­ents re­quired for healthy de­vel­op­ment.

“Breast­feed­ing milk was also read­ily avail­able and af­ford­able be­cause of the an­ti­bod­ies breast milk con­tains that pro­tects in­fants from diar­rhoea and pneu­mo­nia.”

Mrs Bhatnagar is urg­ing all moth­ers to breast­feed their chil­dren to avoid health risks as­so­ci­ated with bot­tle feed­ing.

“These risks in­clude asthma al­ler­gies, ear in­fec­tion, di­a­betes, chil­dren can­cers and res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion,” she said.

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