Nadowli, (UW/R), June 23, GNA – Madam Phoebe Balagumyetime, the Nadowli-Kaleo District Director of Health Services, has advised lactating mothers not to ignore the first six months of exclusive breastfeeding for the holistic development of their babies.
She said proper breastfeeding, including breastfeeding within the first 30 minutes of birth, would enable the baby to be healthy, strong and intelligent.
Madam Balagumyetime said this at Nadowli during a meeting to share findings of a survey on breastfeeding conducted in 33 communities in the Nadowli-Kaleo District.
The Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD-Ghana) organised the meeting as part of the implementation of the “Maternal and Neonatal Health” project with funding from UNICEF.
The project was to create demand for breastfeeding and quality care for maternal and new-born babies as well as children below two years.
CARD-Ghana is leading the implementation of the project in the Nadowli-Kaleo District with a focus on Exclusive and Complimentary Breastfeeding in the 33 communities.
Madam Balagumyetime urged traditional leaders to get involved in the campaign for proper breastfeeding and to encourage men to provide the necessary support for women from pregnancy to childbirth, including accompanying them to antenatal clinics.
The Director stated that breastfeeding mothers needed to eat healthy food and be properly cared for to enable them to stay healthy saying, “Depression can lead to difficulty in producing breast milk, and such women need serious counselling”.
She advised health personnel to create demand for and appropriately market health services at all levels to make the people yearn for their services.
Madam Leenat Abdul-Rahaman, the Executive Director of CARD-Ghana, said the survey revealed that there was a high demand for good nutrition for breastfeeding mothers and the absence of that could lead to the early introduction of complementary feeding.
“There is still low male interest and support for maternal and neonatal health discussions, particularly breastfeeding”, she added.
She said advocacy messages have been developed for the project, which included: no water or liquid for the first six months of birth, men involvement in maternal and neonatal health at all levels; good nutrition for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and separate meals for babies at complementary feeding stages among others.
Mr Peter Song-ba Diruzie, the Nadowli-Kaleo District Nutrition Officer, emphasised the need for District Assemblies to make conscious efforts in promoting nutrition at all levels saying, “Issue of nutrition is very complex and cannot be handled by only women”.
He advised lactating mothers to report difficulty in producing breast milk or any issue related to breastfeeding to the health facility for attention.
“Anything that enters the baby’s mouth apart from breast milk before the first six months of birth must be recommended by the doctor”, he added.