Malawi’s exclusive breast-feeding rate drops, working mothers blamed

Mzuzu, Mothers who go to work leaving their babies at home have been blamed for Malawi’s decrease in exclusive breast-feeding rate to 61 percent from 71 according to 2016 Demographic Health Survey findings.

The drop means that, currently, out of every 100 mothers in the country only 61 breast-feed exclusively.

Briefing the media Friday in Mzuzu ahead of the 2017 Breastfeeding Week slated for 1 to 7th August, Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health Ulunji Mezuwa said the decrease is due to a number of factors including working mothers.

There are a lot of working mothers who leave their babies at home with nannies which means they don’t breast-feed their babies, he said.

He also attributed the decrease to fashionable media coverage of breast milk substitutes such as lactogen.

It is fashionable these days to give babies substitutes other than breast milk, he said.

He said it is worrisome that the figures have dropped because exclusive breast-feeding is key to child survival.

Mezuwa added that the drop is a serious issue because it means the country has also dropped points on child survival.

Something needs to be done to reverse the trend, he said.

To this effect, he said, the Ministry of Health has organized a number of activities apart from the national launch of the commemoration of World Breast-feeding Week which will take place at Manica Ground in Balaka District on 1st August.

He said other activities will be commemoration of the breast-feeding week at district level and door-to-door visits by health workers aimed at promoting exclusive breast-feeding.

He then asked journalists to assist in the campaign for exclusive breast-feeding through their mass media outlets.

Through airing of different messages on breast-feeding, we hope that the communities will know and appreciate the importance of breast-feeding which will translate to good child care practices, Mezuwa said.

World Breast-feeding Week (WBW) is an annual event organized by The World Alliance for Breast-feeding (WABA) to promote, support and encourage breast-feeding throughout the world.

It was first celebrated in 1992 and is celebrated in over 170 countries.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA