This week from 1st to 7th of August 2018 Kenya is joining the rest of the world in commemorating World Breastfeeding week. This Week is celebrated in August each year to improve the health of babies around the world. This year’s theme is Breastfeeding: the Foundation of Life as the agenda continues to push breastfeeding as a means to give children a vital head start to their future wellbeing.
According to UNICEF*, there are considerable variations in the results for key breastfeeding indicators across African countries and regions. The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months is higher in East and Southern Africa (56%) than in West and Central Africa (33%) and in the North Africa/Middle East region (32%). The overall prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in Sub-Saharan Africa stands at 43%, which is below the minimum target of 50% recommended by the World Health Assembly.
Breastfeeding should remain a priority in Sub-Saharan Africa, with renewed emphasis on early initiation of breastfeeding, in addition to exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding up to 2 years or beyond.
It’s 🌎 World Breastfeeding Week!
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) August 1, 2018
Meanwhile women in Tana River County have been accused of refusing to breastfeed their children in order to “maintain” their breasts.
According to a Public Health Officer in the area, they said women fear that their breasts will sag making them unattractive to their men. Hence, the mothers preferred feeding young babies with cow milk, porridge and other heavy food at a tender age. The babies have since suffered malnutrition, and have easily falllen as victims of nutritional diseases, and so did the mothers.
The Public Health officer further added other reasons for failure to breastfeed were being caused by men, who failed to appreciate their wives as they were, thus putting them under pressure and also failure to provide proper diet for their lactating spouses.
This calls for the need for men to be sensitized on importance of breastfeeding to having a wife with firm breasts in light of the World Breastfeeding week.
Last year, research carried out by World Vision revealed that more than 5,000 children were suffering from malnutrition.
On the other hand 11,048 expectant women flocked hospitals and dispensaries to get the government supplies of Iron folate, to improve their health and nutrition status.
The county department of health is scheduled to carry out a program meant to train women on exclusive breastfeeding and its importance to both the mother and child this week.