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Only 28.2% of infants less than six months old are exclusively breastfeeding |02 August 2022

Only 28.2% of infants less than six months old are exclusively breastfeeding

Minister Vidot addressing the gathering at the launch of activities to mark World Breastfeeding Week

A study conducted recently for two Early Childhood Care and Education related projects shows that only 28.2% of infants below six months here are being breastfed exclusively but the target for Seychelles national strategic plan 2025 is to reach at least 50% or more for the rate of exclusive breastfeeding.

The study also found that 49% of infants have mixed feeding – meaning that they both breastfeed and drink infant formula.

The study shows that the rate of exclusive breastfeeding is decreasing as the child grows while mixed feeding is increasing.

These findings were presented yesterday morning during the launch of the World Breastfeeding Week being celebrated here from August 1 to 7.

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs launched activities to mark the week during a short ceremony yesterday at the Sheikh Khalifa Diagnostic Centre.

This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is ‘Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support.’

Breastfeeding Week was first commemorated in 1992 and it aims at highlighting the huge benefits of the good nutrition that is breast milk and how good it is to the health and welfare of babies.

Present for the launch was the Minister for Health, Peggy Vidot; the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt; and the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Danny Louange among other health professionals concerned with maternal and infant health.

Addressing all present Minister Vidot stated that the theme for this year is focusing on strengthening the capacity of actors to protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of society thus protecting what has been named “the warm chain”.

“The warm chain campaign places the mother and the baby’s diet at the centre across various levels of society to provide a continuum of care during the first critical 1000 days of an infant’s life.

The importance of breastfeeding is to provide all nutrients to a baby for the first six months of life and breast milk is easily digested. Breast milk also contains antibodies and other factors, which protect the baby against diarrhoea and other infections. It is also clean, safe and free. Other than providing nutritious breast milk to babies, breastfeeding also provides the opportunity for the building of a close bond between mother and baby,” Minister Vidot highlighted.

Minister Vidot went on to note that the government, health system, workplaces and communities should be informed, educated and empowered to build up their capacity to provide and sustain breastfeeding in friendly environments for mothers in the post pandemic era.

She added that putting a baby to the breast may seem simple but it requires nurturing, proper techniques, patience and protection to attain the maximum benefits that this simple act provides.

Following Minister Vidot’s remarks there was a series of presentations and the topics included Seychelles analysis of 2017 routine nutrition information data, preparation and support for breastfeeding in the community (the parenting education and support programme), breastfeeding and employment, survey on the level of care and welfare of children born to teenage mothers and assessing the effectiveness of parenting education, ante-natal and post-delivery sessions held from 2013 to 2018.

Michelle Fred, the child health programme manager at the Ministry of Health, stated that during this week, they plan to conduct interviews, health promotion activities in various clinics across different regions.

“Our target group is the postnatal mothers and new parents attending anti-natal clinics,” she said.

She added that all information will be dispersed across the ministry’s social media to showcase the importance of breastfeeding and empower the parents.

She added that the most important part currently is to empower mothers through education and this starts in the community and workplaces as well.

Also during the ceremony yesterday, the parenting education sessions that are done at antenatal clinics for expectant mothers/parents and postnatal mothers/parents have been re-launched.


Marla Simeon

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