The City of Bulawayo commemorated World Breastfeeding Week from the 7th to the 11th of August 2017, as a way of encouraging breastfeeding and improving the health of babies.
This year’s theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together” was focused on engaging and mobilizing the general community at different levels and between various sectors. The aim on breastfeeding was also at reaching new audiences such as fathers, grandparents and aunts.
“To promote and encourage breastfeeding, two variables need to be considered such as time and place. “Time” looks at the period covering pre-pregnancy to weaning while “place” looks at home, community and health care systems that promote, protect and support breastfeeding,” said the Acting Director of Health Services Dr Edwin Sibanda.
He added that the pillar of the campaign was to ensure that community awareness, knowledge, attitude and skills in breastfeeding are enhanced.
- The specific objectives of the campaign were;
- To draw attention of the public on the interest of the pursuit of breastfeeding until two years and beyond.
- To make the public aware of the risks and costs that represents the introduction of artificial foods and drinks before six months by involving family, friends, relatives and the community to help them build and share vital messages and raise awareness.
- To provide social and economic benefits to the families and nation.
“To promote breastfeeding, mothers should exclusivelybreastfeed for the first six months, introduce solids from six months and continue breastfeeding, and eat a balanced diet: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals are necessary for the baby,” said Dr Sibanda.
Breast milk contains colostrum, the first milk which provides the baby with protection; all mothers whether HIV positive or negative are encouraged to breastfeed. In engaging new audience, this year’s theme seeks to engage the whole family in protecting the baby.
The 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.”
World Breastfeeding Week commemorates the Innocenti Declaration by World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) policy-makers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It is celebrated globally every year, from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.