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02.08.2005 Health

Western Region registers low breastfeeding rate

By GNA

Takoradi, Aug 2, GNA- Mr Winfred Wunu, the Western Regional Nutrition Officer, on Tuesday expressed regret that only about 22 per cent of nursing mothers in the Region exclusively breastfeed their children in the first six months after delivery.

He said the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has intensified education at health facilities and community outreach programmes aimed at reversing the trend.

Mr Wunu who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Takoradi, said the education was aimed assisting mothers to form "Mother to Mother Support Groups on Breastfeeding" to serve as a platform for pregnant women and nursing mothers to discuss issues concerning breastfeeding.

He reminded nursing mothers that breast milk was necessary for the early development of children as it protects them against some diseases. Mr Wunu said, "The first breast milk that comes out within three days after delivery is rich in vitamin 'A' and other ingredients that protect the child against diseases and should, therefore, not be discarded". He said health experts had recommended special diets such as " infant formula" for babies but this had bad effects and consequences on the health and survival of children.

Mr Wunu said exclusive breastfeeding should be followed by the introduction of complimentary food for six months and breastfeeding should be continued until the child was two years old. He said working nursing mothers could "Manually express breast milk" for their babies and that it could be preserved for eight hours under hygienic conditions.

Mr Wuna said there are 10 baby friendly health facilities in parts of the region including the Shama-Ahanta East Metropolis and Juabeso Bia district, which have four baby friendly health facilities each and the Nzema East and the Wassa West Districts, which have one each.

He said an assessment would be made some health facilities including those at the Jomoro and Bibiani-Ahwinaso-Bekwai Districts to enable them to facilitate breastfeeding among nursing mothers.

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