'Mauritius committed to promote breastfeeding'

Port-Louis, Mauritius, (PANA) - Mauritian Health and Quality of Life Minister Dr Anwar Husnoo has said that the government is committed to promote breastfeeding as an important public health intervention so as to make sure that every child born in Mauritius is given a good chance to survive, grow and develop into a healthy and strong young citizen.

He was speaking on Wednesday at the launch of activities on World Breastfeeding Week 2018.

Dr Husnoo announced that in a bid to enhance better monitoring of breastfeeding practices, the drafting of a breastfeeding action plan is currently in progress.

Furthermore, a breastfeeding committee will be set up in all five regional hospitals across the island.

Speaking about the multiple benefits of breastfeeding for both newborn babies and their mothers, he pointed out that breast milk has been tested for years and is the best source of nutrition and growth for infants. "The simple act of breastfeeding can protect a child’s life and it also reduces maternal illnesses," he emphasised.

The Minister stressed that optimal breastfeeding in the first two years of life and particularly exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months as recommended by the WHO, has the potential to prevent up to 12 to 15 per cent of all under-five deaths in the developing world.

He pointed out that the health benefits of breastfeeding do not last just during infancy, but are sustained throughout childhood, adolescence and into adulthood as well.

Dr Husnoo highlighted that breastfeeding provides a unique early bonding experience for infants and their mothers. This contributes greatly, according to him, to the baby´s psychological, emotional and social development. In addition, many mothers feel fulfillment and joy from the physical and emotional communion they experience with their child while nursing, he added.

The Health Minister, however, underlined that there is a long way to go to make sure that all children in Mauritius are well protected in their early stages of life.

Statistics from a survey carried out in 2017 by the Mauritius Institute of Health had found that, among 480 mothers only 25% had breastfed their babies for the first six months.

To that end, the minister governmental and private institutions to assist and support women in breastfeeding and to create the utmost protective and supportive environment for exclusive breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1st to 7th August in more than 170 countries to commemorate the 1990 Innocenti Declaration made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in August 1990 to promote, support and sustain breastfeeding.
-0- PANA NA/MA 8Aug2018

08 august 2018 07:42:35

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