Collective approach needed to achieve universal breastfeeding – Dr. Ramsammy

Despite breastmilk being the most nutritious diet for babies, Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has revealed that around 40 per cent of Guyanese mothers are breastfeeding, which he described as unacceptable.

It is for this reason, Dr. Ramsammy called on mothers and even communities to be champions of breastfeeding, which can contribute to a healthier population and fewer instances of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy delivering his address

He was at the time addressing a breastfeeding education and awareness symposium hosted by the Ministry of Health’s Food Policy Division in commemoration of World Breastfeeding Week 2023, at the Regency Suites, Georgetown, on Thursday.

Dr. Ramsammy stressed the importance of working collectively to achieve universal exclusive breastfeeding locally.

“We need this movement because it is not just the mothers, it is not just our health workers. This is all of us, who must work to achieve universal exclusive breastfeeding for our babies,” he emphasised.

Mothers at the symposium

Additionally, the health advisor underscored the importance of reviewing the three-month maternity leave, which is given to mothers who have given birth. However, it is recommended that babies breastfeed for six months.

This year’s observance is themed “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a difference for working parent” and in keeping with that theme, Dr. Ramsammy appealed to employers in the private and public sectors to create an environment where mothers can thrive.

The Ministry of Health’s Food Policy Division hosted a Breastfeeding Education & Awareness Symposium at Regency Suites Hotel on Thursday

“We have to do more to support young women. We have to ensure that we create the space for them to earn, be successful professionals, and be the best mothers in the world. The time is long past where too many workplaces are not suited for young mothers. We need to change that and so I appeal to employers, to address this issue … if we all sit together, we can come up with solutions” the advisor asserted.

Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies received tokens as a sign of appreciation.