GPHC Maternal Unit commences celebrations for Breastfeeding Week
Medical professionals, particularly those who work in the Maternal Unit, in Guyana are today commencing celebrations for National Breastfeeding Week 2012 under the theme “Understanding the past-planning the Future”. Practicing breastfeeding is the fundamental right of all children and science has proven that breast milk is the perfect food for babies.
The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Maternal Unit started its celebrations with an inter-faith service in the post-natal ward. The mothers who gave birth to the first male and female babies today were presented with a hamper containing infant-related items.
The mothers were urged to learn as much as possible on breastfeeding so that they can benefit from all its positives for themselves, baby and the entire family.
Senior Departmental Supervisor- Maternity Unit, Sister June Cato emphasised that even though this week is designated as breastfeeding week mothers are constantly educated about breastfeeding. She noted that this week of activities indicates the seriousness the Unit places on encouraging breastfeeding.
With regards to the theme, Sister Cato explained that in the past people were not so much into breastfeeding but now this has turned around.
Some of the other activities for the week of celebrations include educational talks at the ante-natal clinic, one-day workshop for new staff and a mini-fair.
Sister Arjune, while speaking to the mothers described breast milk as being likened unto gold since the milk provides the child with all the nutritional needs required and protects against illness during the early stages of life. She also encouraged mothers to clean their breasts, wear clean clothes and to feed their babies regularly.
Children who are breastfed do not get as many earaches and infections, they are much more resistant to diarrhoea and grow up to be adults with reduced risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and cancer.
Breastfeeding is not only best for babies but it has been proven that breastfeeding mothers are less prone to ovarian and breast cancers.
Government has also established a policy towards breastfeeding for HIV positive mothers, which involves providing a breastfeeding substitute for their infants. The intervention also caters for the provision of medication for HIV positive mothers who insist on breastfeeding and the pediatric formulations for HIV positive children.
Breastfeeding and immunization is part of the Health Ministry’s National Plan to improve child health in Guyana. This programme has made significant progress over the years.