Public Health Ministry continues to champion exclusive breastfeeding

first_imgParticipants in the walkathon pose for a photo with Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen CummingsWomen have been urged to endorse exclusive breastfeeding, which is the best option for the majority of infants, as Guyana begins its observance of National Breastfeeding Week 2016.“Today, I urge you all to continue to promote exclusive breastfeeding in whatever way you can, so that our babies can enjoy healthy lives from birth and that you use all available channels to spread the virtues of exclusive breastfeeding,” Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings told a walkathon on Sunday morning which kicked off the week of activities.According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), the walkathon saw the participation of Minister Cummings, patient care assistants and midwives and doctors of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).Launched under the theme, “Breastfeeding: a key to sustainable development”, the week of activities seeks to further equip maternal healthcare workers, mothers and even fathers with the requisite knowledge and information to achieve 100 per cent exclusive breastfeeding across Guyana.Exclusive breastfeeding is a distinctive process that provides perfect nutrition for infants, and contributes to their growth and development.The Public Health Ministry will be heightening promotion and awareness of the need for mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding.Nurses and other maternal healthcare personnel also advocated for the implementation of the six-month exclusive breastfeeding policy in Guyana, since the current rate stands at only 23 per cent, according to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report.The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that women should breastfeed their babies for six months, since it reduces the risk of babies becoming infected, creates bonding between mother and child, and prevents ovarian cancer.Minister Cummings said, “Registered dieticians, nutritionists and dietetic technicians should continue efforts to shift the norm of infant feeding away from the use of human milk substitute towards human milk feeds.”Assistant Director of Nursing Services Keith Alonzo highlighted that the theme for this year’s observance of National Breastfeeding Week lent it to creating awareness of the links between breastfeeding and sustainable development.Alonzo said there were five main areas related to breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals. These are nutrition and food security, health and well-being and survival for human beings, environment and climate change, work productivity empowerment, social protection and sustainable partnership, and the rule of law.National Breastfeeding Week will continue with a number of countrywide symposiums and workshops that will further educate mothers and promote exclusive breastfeeding.last_img