First Lady calls for longer breast­feed­ing

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Vic­tor Maphosa in MAHUSEKWA

FIRST Lady Aux­il­lia Mnan­gagwa has chal­lenged the Min­istry of Health and Child Care to en­sure that no woman dies while giv­ing birth.

The First Lady made the call while of­fi­ci­at­ing at the launch of the 2018 Na­tional World Breast­feed­ing Week here yes­ter­day.

She urged the min­istry to en­sure that health per­son­nel were pro­fes­sional and com­pe­tent and called for strin­gent mea­sures on any act of neg­li­gence by health per­son­nel.

“We hear cases where most women die while giv­ing birth and in most cases it’s due to neg­li­gence by those who would be as­signed to take care of them in health in­sti­tu­tions,” said First Lady Mnan­gagwa to the cheers of thou­sands of women present.

“I call upon the Min­istry of Health and Child Care to de­vise a law which can be ap­plied to those who are found guilty of neg­li­gence. Let women die of nat­u­ral causes and not be­cause of child birth.”

Turn­ing to breast­feed­ing, the First Lady said it was not only a woman’s is­sue, but every­one should be in­volved.

“Breast­feed­ing is not a woman’s is­sue, but is for all of us in all seg­ments of so­ci­ety, from busi­ness own­ers to fam­ily mem­bers and Govern­ment lead­ers to cit­i­zens,” she said.

“We all need to be in­volved in safe­guard­ing women’s and chil­dren’s rights to breast­feed­ing. Suc­cess in breast­feed­ing is not the sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of a woman. The pro­tec­tion, pro­mo­tion and sup­port of breast­feed­ing is a col­lec­tive so­ci­etal re­spon­si­bil­ity where every­one has an obli­ga­tion to ful­fil.

“A woman can­not suc­cess­fully breast­feed her child when she is stressed, when she has no suit­able food to eat, so men should take the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for their fam­i­lies.”

First Lady Mnan­gagwa said so­ci­etal chal­lenges faced by most women, in­clud­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, hin­dered the suc­cess­ful breast­feed­ing of chil­dren.

She urged women to breast­feed their chil­dren ad­e­quately, say­ing a well breast­fed child be­comes a healthy child.

“Zim­babwe is a breast­feed­ing na­tion with 98 out of ev­ery 100 chil­dren be­ing breast­fed at some point in their lives. How­ever, we still have some loose ends, which need to be strength­ened when it comes to ob­serv­ing breast­feed­ing rec­om­men­da­tions for op­ti­mum re­sults,” she said.

“Sixty-one out of 100 chil­dren are ex­clu­sively breast­fed, mean­ing they are given breast milk only up to the age of six months. Only 11 out of a 100 chil­dren are breast­fed up to the rec­om­mended two years.

“Vana­mai vazhinji vachiri kuyamwisa kwe18 months dzataiku­rudzira dziya, asi izvezvi tave kuti mwana ngaayamwe kwe two years kuti pfungwa dziny­atsovhurike uye akure aine hutano hwakanaka.”

First Lady Mnan­gagwa said this year’s com­mem­o­ra­tions were aimed at high­light­ing the huge ben­e­fits that breast­feed­ing can bring to the health and wel­fare of chil­dren, as well as a wider push for ma­ter­nal health, fo­cus­ing on good nu­tri­tion, poverty re­duc­tion and food se­cu­rity.

“This year’s World Breast­feed­ing Week theme ‘Breast­feed­ing Foun­da­tion of Life’ means that breast­feed­ing is a uni­ver­sal so­lu­tion that lev­els the play­ing field, giv­ing every­one a fair start in life,” she said.

“It pro­vides a foun­da­tion for every­one’s health, well-be­ing and sur­vival.”

In 2016, the United Na­tions placed nu­tri­tion at the heart of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment by declar­ing 2016 to 2025 as the UN Decade for Ac­tion on Nu­tri­tion.

First Lady Mnan­gagwa

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