Exclusive breastfeeding lowering infant mortality rate

─ the ministry has been promoting the merits of exclusive six months breastfeeding, to mothers countrywide

─ 11 hospitals across Guyana have, thus far, received breast friendly status

DPI, Guyana, Monday, September 17, 2018

Health sector stakeholders, on Sunday, began the first of many activities in observance of World Breastfeeding Week 2018. Medical practitioners along with members of the public marched through several streets in Georgetown in an effort to promote the benefits of breastfeeding.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings said over the years, the ministry has been promoting the merits of exclusive six months breastfeeding, to mothers countrywide.

“While recognising that the promotion of breastfeeding as the best possible nutrition for infants, it has been the cornerstone of child health and survival strategies for the past two decades. Significant to note is that breastfeeding has played a major part in lowering infant mortality in many parts of the world. Undoubtedly it remains the best option for the great majority of infants,” Minister Cummings said.

In efforts to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding, Dr. Cummings noted several activities were implemented. She urged all to give their support.

“The attitude of partners, families, employers and society as a whole have an impact on breastfeeding rates. Therefore, through public awareness and educational programmes like these, we will continue to dispel some of the misguided views on breastfeeding.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Brigadier George Lewis assured GPHC’s commitment to supporting activities surrounding breastfeeding programmes. He said more needs to be done to fight off the stigma against mothers breastfeeding in public.

“We need to work on building women’s confidence so they can feel proud to take out their breast anywhere and breastfeed their babies. I think the only way we can do this is through education. We need to start in our schools educating our young boys and girls so as they grow they will be able to educate their children. We also need to educate our colleagues in the workplace and every other place necessary,” Brigadier Lewis remarked.

To date, 11 hospitals across Guyana have received breast friendly status. This means that facilities will ensure that mothers who deliver babies practice and promote exclusive breastfeeding.

This year’s breastfeeding week is being observed from September 16-22, and is held under the theme “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life.” 

By: Crystal Stoll.

Image: Jules Gibson.

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