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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