By Beth Nyaga
Infants 0-6 months old who are not exclusively breastfed, have 7 times the risk of death from diarrhea and five times the risk of death from pneumonia compared to exclusive breastfed infants, Garissa County health CEC Hubbie Hussein has said.
In a speech she delivered during the launch of the world breastfeeding week held at a Garissa hotel Hubbie on Wednesday, she said exclusive breastfeeding almost eliminates an infant’s exposure to unsafe food or water and safes an estimated 6 million lives annually worldwide.
“This celebration should set stage for a sustained commitment to maintain and improve standards in inculcation of en exclusive breastfeeding culture within families, communities and work places,” she added.
Hubbie who was addressing health stakeholders said the global strategy for infants and young child feeding fosters multi-sect oral collaboration and build upon various partnerships for support of development through breastfeeding program mes and initiatives.
The CEC said misinformation on breastfeeding among the local community is to blame for malnutrition among the children under two years.
She added that mothers stop breastfeeding after the exclusive 6 months period not knowing that their action has far reaching effects on the growth of their children.
Hubbie noted that breastfeeding should continue for at least two alongside feeding the child to ensure proper and healthy growth of their children.
The CEC said most mothers are more engaged in trying to eke a living at the expense of breastfeeding their children leading to malnourished children.
“Awareness creating especially among young mothers through the social media and public information system is necessary if we have to have a healthy population,” she said.
In march this year the ministry of health with support from UNICEF conducted a ‘knowledge attitude and practice’ among lactating mothers that showed that exclusive breastfeeding stood at 43 percent and continuing breastfeeding to 2 years is at around 40 percent.
This year’s theme is ‘breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development’.