Save the Children Malawi commits to supporting exclusive breastfeeding interventions in Malawi
Thokozani Bema, the organization's Director of Program Development and Quality, made the pledge at Chiwamba Health Centre on the outskirts of Lilongwe.
Malawi: Save the Children Malawi, a humanitarian organization that provides life-saving assistance to children and their families, has expressed its commitment to assisting the Malawian government in promoting exclusive breastfeeding and recommended child feeding practices, writes Watipaso Mzungu.
Thokozani Bema, the organization's Director of Program Development and Quality, made the pledge at Chiwamba Health Centre on the outskirts of Lilongwe during the launch of the 2022 National Breastfeeding Week.
Bema stated that for the past several years, his organization has been training service providers in nutrition and mobilizing community volunteers to educate households on the importance of nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child's life.
"We will continue to support the government in increasing nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child's life," he said.
Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health and Population, described breastfeeding as a cornerstone of child survival, optimal nutrition, and early childhood development.
Breastfeeding, according to Chiponda, prevents malnutrition, including obesity, and gives children the best start in life, regardless of whether the child is born into a wealthy or impoverished family.
"As we commemorate the week, I urge each of us to make time, space, and support for breastfeeding women and women returning to work in both formal and non-formal sectors to exclusively breastfeed in the first six months of life and continue breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods after six months until two years or beyond for child survival and development for a healthy and prosperous nation," she said.
This year's World Breastfeeding Week, Chiponda, resonates well with Malawians as the country raises awareness about the importance of protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding as a sustainable and cost-effective means of ensuring healthy children.
She emphasized the importance of working together to raise awareness and promote breastfeeding.
"Breastfeeding support involves many actors at all levels." Women require assistance from the health care system, the workplace, and the community in order to breastfeed optimally and progress from one level to the next. This is referred to as the Warm Chain of Support. "This year's theme encourages everyone to play a role in educating and supporting women to practice optimal breastfeeding practices at all times," the minister said.
In his remarks, UNICEF Malawi Country Representative Rudolph Schwenk praised the Malawian government for fostering an environment conducive to exclusive breastfeeding.
Every year, World Breastfeeding Week is observed with a specific theme aimed at promoting, protecting, and supporting exclusive breastfeeding as the natural and best way of feeding infants from birth to six months, followed by sustained breastfeeding with appropriate complementary feeding until two years of age or beyond.
World Breastfeeding Week is a week set aside around the world to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding.
This is one of the strategies for globalizing breastfeeding promotion.
Every year during the first week of August, a theme is chosen to focus the attention of caregivers, communities, service providers, and the general public on the recommended infant and young child practices that are critical in improving child survival, growth, development, and quality of life.
"STEP UP BREASTFEEDING: EDUCATE AND SUPPORT" is the theme for World Breastfeeding Week in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has planned several activities to commemorate the week, including educating and supporting breastfeeding by advertising breastfeeding jingles on national and community radios and television, as well as strengthening activities at the hospital and community levels through community level structures such as care groups.