By our reporter
Government of Uganda has today joined the rest of the world to commemorate the the World Breastfeeding Week under the Theme, ‘Learning from the past to improve the future, strengthening the first 1000 days’.
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants and it gives them all the nutrients they need for healthy development. Optimal breastfeeding together with complementary feeding help prevent malnutrition and can save about a million child lives.
The benefits of breastfeeding are enormous, but globally less than 40 per cent of infants under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed. In Uganda, only 62 per cent of children under six months old are exclusively breastfed, according to national figures.
Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with better weight gain in babies and significantly less cases of diarrhea and acute respiratory diseases. Breast milk is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses.
The WHO and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old.In Uganda, tremendous efforts have been directed towards the promotion, protection and support of optimal feeding through the Infant and Young Child Feeding Programmes.
The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health approved a national policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding which promotes exclusive breastfeeding by mothers.
The Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF encourages mothers to exclusively breastfeed their infants during the first six months through the recently launched Family.