By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
August 1, 2013 (BENTIU) - Health officials in South Sudan’s Unity state have launched a campaign to encourage women to adopt better breast feeding habits for the benefit of their children.
- Patients at the reception of Bentiu hospital waiting to be seen by doctors, 31 August 2013 (ST)
Nearly 1,000 pupils, including girls from Dare Primary School, and officials health officials attended the launch of the project which coincides with the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week.
Michael Guo Puot, a nutrition programme manager at Unity state’s health ministry, said the objective of the week is to inform mothers who are unaware of good child breastfeeding behaviour.
He urged parents, especially mothers, to avoid giving some types of food to babies before they reach six months old.
Over seven days seven days will visit schools across Unity state to hold discussions, involving both sexes, to brainstorm how good breastfeeding practices can be passed on to mothers.
Children under six months old should be given water and some other foods, Puot said. Failure to breastfeed properly results in malnourishment of children in many communities in South Sudan.
- A mother and her children wait to see a doctor at Bentiu hospital, 31 August 2013 (ST)
Angelina Nyaruac Chan, the director of the Western Upper Nile Women’s Working Group, who participated in the campaign launch, urged mothers to be cautious when breastfeeding.
“Women; avoid poor sanitation, you have to feed very well in order for [the heath] of our children. A mother should eat three times in a day; this will make her produce a lot of milk for the baby to grow well”, added Chan.
Chan called on mothers to extend the message to other parents who not get access to the information of breastfeeding policy for children safety.
Although the programme is due to target both mothers in urban and rural areas, poor roads will hamper the movement of the campaigners.
Last year Unity state had a high number of malnourished children admitted to a feeding centre in Bentiu town run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). This year MSF handed the programme over to the state government, which has begun to play a larger role in maternal health and nutritional education.