In observance of the August annual World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), the County health department in collaboration with the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) organized the celebrations at KMET Complex Railway ward, Kisumu central Sub County.
The 2019 WBW theme “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding,” encourages exclusive breastfeeding and promotion of improved health for babies. The theme aims at championing for gender equitable parental social protection, parent-friendly workplaces in both formal and informal sector and parent-friendly values and gender-equitable social norms to advance breastfeeding.
Speaking during the event County Minister for Prof. Judith Attyang noted that there are barriers to creating an enabling and supportive environment for women to breastfeed. Prof. Attyang called on public private partnership to promote the importance of family-friendly policies to enable breastfeeding and help parents nurture and bond with their children in early life, when it matters most.
“Concerted actions are thus needed to coordinate actions to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.” Said Prof. Attyang. The County minister applauded KMET for supporting breastfeeding mothers through the launch of the lactation center.
KMET executive director, Dr Monica Ogutu encouraged young mothers to give children the best start in life through exclusive breastfeeding, adding that increasing breastfeeding promotes better health for mothers and children alike as well as decreasing the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
During the event, the County Nutrition Coordinator, Rael Mwando appreciated this year’s theme for having addressed women’s productivity and employment while underscoring the health Act 2017. Madam Mwando also emphasized the need to have work place lactation centers adding that this will ensure productive workforce as a result of less absenteeism, increased loyalty and staff turnover.
August 1st to 7th WBW, the World Health Organization, (WHO) actively promotes breastfeeding as the best source of nourishment for infants and young children. According to WHO, breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.
Access to a parent friendly workplace to protect and support their ability to continue breastfeeding upon return to work by having access to breastfeeding breaks; a safe, private, and hygienic space for expressing and storing breast milk and affordable childcare.
The 7-day celebration is to inform the public on parental social protection and breastfeeding while anchoring on parent-friendly values to support breastfeeding. The WBW also seeks to engage individuals and organizations to advance breastfeeding by galvanizing action on gender-equitable parental social protection.
By Matilda Atieno