Bulawayo City Council

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REF: D5/8

1 August 2021



The City of Bulawayo joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Breastfeeding Week under the theme: Protect Breastfeeding: A shared Responsibility

In 1991, The World Alliance of Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was formed to act on the 1990 Declaration to Protect, Support and Promote Breastfeeding. It was designed to recognise breastfeeding and its power to lower infant mortality, protect women from ovarian and breast cancer, and provide ideal nutrition for healthy growth in infants. It further encourages individuals in their breastfeeding journeys. As part of this action plan, WABA introduced the concept of a globally integrated breastfeeding strategy for promotion. However, this idea was supposed to be celebrated only for one day which afterward turned into a week. This week is now known as World Breastfeeding Week and is celebrated from 1-7 August.

As a City we need to utilize this opportunity that as a community as fathers, partners and other carers we need to support breastfeeding mothers to make it a success and increase breastfeeding duration. Breastfeeding has various advantages, these advantages extend not only to babies but to their mothers, families and society.

For the baby: the milk contains antibodies that help viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, other illnesses inclusive of COVID-19 and less bouts of diarrhoea, hence lowering infant mortality and providing ideal nutrition for healthy growth in infants. Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their babies regardless of their COVID-19 status. However, COVID-19 preventive measures like washing of hands with soap and water and masking up during breastfeeding should be observed in COVID-19 positive mothers.

The risk of mortality due to diarrhoea and other infections can increase in infants who are either partially breastfed or not breastfed at all. Breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the antibodies and nutrients they need.

Children and adolescents who were breastfed as babies are less likely to be overweight or obese. Additionally, they perform better on intelligence tests and have higher school attendance. Breastfeeding is associated with higher income in adult life.

For breastfeeding mothers; it reduces the chances of them getting ovarian cancer, breast cancer, less diabetes, less cardiovascular disease, just to mention a few conditions. The longer breastfeeding occurs, the more protective it is for mom.

Breastfeeding offers society not only improved health of children and mothers, but also economic and environmental benefits. Breastfeeding does not waste scarce resources or create pollution. Breast milk is a naturally renewable resource that requires no packaging, shipping or disposal.

World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old and continued breastfeeding with the addition of nutritious complementary foods for up to two years or beyond as the key fundamental to health of the new babies. Early initiation of breastfeeding, within 1 hour of birth, protects the newborn from acquiring infections and reduces newborn mortality. Covid19

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