Friday, August 14, 2009

2009 World Breastfeeding Week

Great Outreach In Cameroon
By James Achanyi-Fontem, E-mail:
Outreach during the World Breastfeeding Week, WBW, in Cameroon was in millions as the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, invited men, fathers, and communities to support lactating mothers to accomplish their noble task of breastfeeding babies exclusively for the first six months after birth.
For the first time, the launching of the World Breastfeeding Week was launched out of the nation’s capital of Yaoundé, especially as the event in Obala tied with the theme “Breastfeeding – A Vital Emergency Response: Are We Ready?”.
Minister Andre Mama Fouda thanked his colleagues of the government cabinet , representatives of UN Agencies and the Infant and Young Child Feeding NGOs that turned out to support his ministry with their presence during the mass community event in in Obala.
Cameroon was joining the international community for the 18th time to celebrate wbw, the minister observed, and especially as it was another way of supporting government’s policy in matters of mother and child care. The over 400 mothers and first-time mothers of Obala listened attentively to the minister’s advice and cheered as pertinent infringements to breastfeeding were unmasked.
Minister Andre Mama Fouda sent special kudos to the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA, for the many achievements and determination to support fathers, mothers and communities in the promotion of infant and young feeding action in Cameroon.
He lauded the constant financial and material support of UN agencies and international organisations to the Cameroon government for the promotion of mother and child care, and other health programmes. UNICEF Cameroon received special words of thanks for funding the launching event in Obala.
Minister Mama Fouda said, the celebration creates an opportunity to present a balance sheet of the year’s achievements on the path of breastfeeding promotion in Cameroon, and to expand the sensitisation of mothers, first-time mothers, communities and especially health workers on the importance of breastfeeding for the survival of infants.
He echoed that the theme of the celebration this year invites everybody to prepare for emergencies. In the context of Cameroon, efforts are made to supply portable water to communities as a means of avoiding disasters caused by diseases.
The minister told mothers that breastfeeding is indispensable for the growth and well being of the child. Milk and the love of a mother cannot be replaced, he went on. He condemned those who think that it is possible to produce a substance equivalent to breastmilk. Some companies manufacture breastmilk substitute and equate it with breastmilk, Minister Mama Fouda told the large audience present. The minister emphasized, that it is impossible to realize the companies' dreams and breastmilk will remain superior to formula always.Breastmilk is God's gift to humanity.
He testified that their mother breastfed them and they entirely support mothers of today to breastfed their babies exclusively as their mother did. He added that breastmilk is natural and the best for babies because it contains protective elements that cannot be fabricated by the industries.
Formula should be used only in the real cases where the mother would have suffered from an infection and is sick, the minister advised. On attachment, he told mothers in Obala that breastfeeding encourages bonding between the mother and the child. Bonding accelerates growth of the baby, he emphasized.
He revealed that children breastfed never forget their mothers and remain attached even when they become adults. For this reason, mothers should not deprive their children of the above mentioned advantages of breastmilk. While formula needs preparation, breastmilk is ready at all moments. He invited mothers to breastfeed their babies on demand, because the natural milk has no cost.
Addressing teen mothers, the minister said, breastfeeding makes a woman to look more beautiful and their partners, families and communities have to create favourable environment for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding in Cameroon.
During the official launching, members of the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations, FECABPA, mounted a giant exhibition in the public ceremony place and Minister Andre Mama Fouda visited the stands and received some up dated WABA information folders, as he was accompanied by his colleagues of the government cabinet and top UN representatives of agencies based in Yaounde, capital of Cameroon.
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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Speech on 2009 WBW Launching in Cameroon

Mot du Président de la Fédération des Associations de Soutien à l’Allaitement Maternel au Cameroun, Monsieur James Achanyi-Fontem, à l’occasion du lancement de la SMAM au Cameroun.
Obala, le 6 août 2009

Monsieur le Ministre de la Santé Publique,
Honorables invités
Mesdames, Messieurs,
C’est un honneur pour moi de prendre la parole ici à Obala au nom de la Fédération des Associations de Soutien à l’Allaitement Maternel au Cameroun, en ce jour mémorable à l’occasion de la cérémonie officielle marquant la célébration de la dix huitième Edition de la Semaine Mondiale de l’Allaitement Maternel.
Ce jour nous offre une grande opportunité de mobilisation des populations pour les activités de protection, promotion et soutien de l’Allaitement Maternel.
Excellence, Monsieur le Ministre, notre Fédération a été fondée le 14 septembre 2007 dans le but de soutenir le Ministère de la Santé Publique dans ses missions de promotion, de protection et soutien de l’allaitement maternel auprès des formations sanitaires et des communautés. La vision de FECABPA est de permettre à tous les enfants et leurs mères d’être en bonne santé et de protéger leurs droits.
Monsieur le Ministre de la Santé Publique, il y a deux ans, quatre de nos Associations avaient bénéficié de l’appui de votre Département Ministériel à titre de soutien en matériel. L’année dernière, vous avez permis à 30 de nos membres, de bénéficier d’un renforcement de capacités ici même à OBALA en matière de stratégie de mobilisation, information et éducation des populations. Cette formation nous permet actuellement d’être plus opérationnels et convaincants sur le terrain.
Je voudrais profiter de cette circonstance solennelle, pour vous exprimer notre profonde gratitude pour toutes ces marques d’encouragement à notre endroit.
Permettez moi, Excellence, Monsieur le Ministre, d’exprimer un certain nombre de doléances, qui pourraient rendre notre action beaucoup plus efficace et nous permettre d’atteindre un nombre plus important de personnes dans les communautés du Cameroun.
Il s’agit notamment de :
la mise à notre disposition de matériel éducatif et de mobilisation sociale ;
l’organisation au profit de nos membres, d’autres sessions de formation en allaitement maternel et sur les stratégies de monitoring du code national de commercialisation des substituts du lait maternel signé par le Premier Ministre le 1 er Décembre 2005.
Les formations sur les stratégies de Monitoring du Code National vont accentuer la protection, la promotion et le soutien de l’allaitement maternel; et en même temps amener le Cameroun à se qualifier pour la certification d’un Hôpital Ami des Bébés ou l’initiative d’un Communauté Ami des Bébés par l’OMS/UNICEF. Je suis sûre que le monitoring va aussi augmenter le pourcentage des taux d’allaitement maternel exclusive de 24 % à 35% avant la fin de 2010.
L’encadrement permanent sur le terrain par des équipes de votre département ministériel à titre de supervision ;
La relance de l’appui financier et logistique engagée il y a deux ans ;
His Excellency, after the evaluation of activities of the World Breastfeeding Week in September 2008 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA, Cameroon Link Health Development NGO thrillingly won the Gold Medal of the Marathon events competition. Some 198 NGOs in 120 countries went in for the competition and Cameroon won the Gold Medal, which I am happy to present to you here officially in Obala.
With this, His Excellency, we plead that the ministry of public health, which you head and UNICEF Cameroon should support the participation of some active Infant and Young Child Feeding organisations in Cameroon to attend and participate in the WABA Global Forum 3 scheduled in Quebec, Canada in June 2010.
His Excellency, the Minister of Public health, FECABPA finally recommends that the government should urgently put in place a National Code Monitoring Committee, that would suggest punitive measures including business closure, suspension of license or financial penalty for damages caused due to illegal market competition by any company violators of the existing national code. FECABPA suggests that sanctions be included as part of the existing Cameroon National Code on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes to strengthen its well formulated articles and encourage effective monitoring strategies that would enforce its application at all levels.
These are the few issues that we happily use this opportunity to call the attention of the government to, during this year’s World Breastfeeding Week 2009.
Excellence, nous vous assurons notre étroite collaboration dans le but d’atteindre ensemble les Objectifs du Millénaire du Développement en ce qui concerne la survie de l’enfant et la santé des mères.
Nous remercions, OMS, UNICEF, WABA, IBFAN, Helen Kelly International, Plan International et tous les autres qui continuent de nous aider dans la promotion de la nutrition infantile au Cameroun.
Je vous remercie pour votre aimable attention.