Pri­or­i­tize breast­feed­ing as a pub­lic health in­ter­ven­tion: Ghana first lady

Iran Daily - - Health -

Ghana First Lady Rebecca Akufo-addo called on the Health Ser­vice and the Min­istry of Health to take ur­gent steps to pri­or­i­tize breast­feed­ing as one of the ma­jor pub­lic health in­ter­ven­tions in the coun­try.

She said an early in­cep­tion of breast­feed­ing in in­fants and sus­tained ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing among ba­bies, es­pe­cially in the first six months of life, would not only help re­duce the high mor­tal­ity rates among chil­dren, but would also save the coun­try mil­lions of cedis that would have been used in the treat­ment of diseases af­fect­ing moth­ers and their ba­bies, ghanaweb.com re­ported.

Speak­ing at the launch of the 2018 World Breast­feed­ing Week in Ku­masi, Akufo-addo pointed out that it was time the mis­con­cep­tions about breast­feed­ing were clar­i­fied to en­cour­age moth­ers to ac­cept it as a norm.

This year’s cel­e­bra­tion was on the theme ‘Breast­feed­ing: Foun­da­tion of life’, and seeks to cre­ate aware­ness on the im­por­tant role breast milk plays in the health and growth of ba­bies and young chil­dren.

Breast milk, ac­cord­ing to health ex­perts, is the most nu­tri­tion­ally po­tent food for in­fants and tod­dlers. It helps to re­duce mal­nu­tri­tion, pro­vides es­sen­tial el­e­ments for brain de­vel­op­ment and re­duces hunger and poverty in fam­i­lies.

Akufo-addo stressed the need to im­prove the coun­try’s health sys­tem to pro­mote, pro­tect and sup­port breast­feed­ing in ma­ter­nity fa­cil­i­ties and make them baby-friendly, es­pe­cially in the first days of life.

Em­ploy­ers must also com­ply with the ma­ter­nity pro­tec­tion pro­vi­sions in la­bor con­tracts, by cre­at­ing baby-friendly cor­ners and spa­ces in work­places to en­able lac­tat­ing moth­ers to breast­feed their chil­dren.

The first lady called on all to get on board to im­prove breast­feed­ing habits given that it has eco­nomic and de­vel­op­ment ben­e­fits.

Anne-claire Du­fay, the coun­try’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the United Na­tions In­ter­na­tional Chil­dren Fund (UNICEF), said the coun­try had made progress in her breast­feed­ing ap­proach.

There are ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­ni­ties for the coun­try to im­prove ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing to raise its im­age as a model in ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing in the world.

She said more health pro­fes­sion­als should be trained to of­fer sup­port to moth­ers to give their chil­dren the best start in life and help de­velop their full po­ten­tial in fu­ture.

Pub­lished in ghanaweb.com Ghana First Lady Rebecca Akufo-addo

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