Health

Breastfeeding rate improves

The latest National Nutrition Survey 2015 indicated an improvement in the exclusive breastfeeding rate in Fiji from 40% in 2004 to 53% in 2015. This was highlighted by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate while launching the National Nutrition Month and Breastfeeding Week at the Lovu HART community in Lautoka yesterday. USAMATE: “The […]

Nacanieli Tuilevuka

August 6, 2016 7:15 am

The latest National Nutrition Survey 2015 indicated an improvement in the exclusive breastfeeding rate in Fiji from 40% in 2004 to 53% in 2015.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate (Fijian Government)
Minister for Health and Medical Services Jone Usamate. (Fijian Government)

This was highlighted by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate while launching the National Nutrition Month and Breastfeeding Week at the Lovu HART community in Lautoka yesterday.

USAMATE: “The median duration of breastfeeding has also improved from 7 months in 2004, to 9 months in 2015; with 89% of our children continue to breastfeed into 2 years and beyond, while giving nutritious complementary foods to their babies. But we can do better.”

Minister Usamate said breastfeeding will always remain the best foundation for a child’s life and health.

USAMATE: “It ensures nutrient and food security for the child; prevents the onset of poverty and reduces its severity. So for a Mother to breastfeed is to give the highest assurance there is for the health and survival of her child.”

He added that the dangers associated with bottle feeding are enormous, for both mother and baby.

USAMATE: “Bottle fed babies have increased risks of asthma, allergies, ear infections, diabetes, anaemia, obesity, digestive problems, childhood cancers, respiratory infections and lower IQ. For mothers who do not breastfeed, they have high risks of developing diabetes, overweight and obesity, breast, uterine and ovarian cancers, osteoporosis, cardio-vascular diseases and high blood pressure. To avoid all these problems, please breastfeed your babies.”

Minister Usamate said that every woman can breastfeed and is important to raise awareness and reinforce positive social changes in the community, where a woman has the right to breastfeed her child  and give her child the best start in life.

USAMATE: “Even the most malnourished of women can still produce milk and suckle their young. This validates the fact that it’s not the type and amount of food a Mom eats, but maintaining optimal frequency of putting baby to breast that sustains lactation.”

“It is important to raise awareness and reinforce positive social changes in the community, where a woman has the right to breastfeed her child and give her child the best start in life. Change does not happen overnight but with the involvement of more men and fathers to raise awareness among family and friends will be a good start.”

Minister Usmate said that the breastfeeding advocacy need not be done by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services alone, it would also require the  participation and cooperation of the whole community or the country.

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