Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde has urged Zambians to support and encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed for at least six months for a better, healthier life.
Launching the Breastfeeding Week, Dr Kasonde explained that breast milk was important in the life of babies because it reduced risks of diabetes and obesity.
He said breastfeeding was essential to child growth and development and that people should strive to make it easier for mothers to breastfeed in public places.
Dr Kasonde emphasised that mothers should feel safe and secure at all times to breastfeed, “that is why Government is committed to raising public awareness on the promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding”.
“Create a baby friendly environment that allowes a mother to breastfeed any time. New-borns and infants survive and thrive when they are breastfed. Breast milk is important in the ultimate life of humans because it reduces risks of diabetes and obesity among other diseases.
‘‘Government is committed to raise public awareness on the promotion, support and protection of breastfeeding,” he said.
He said that breastfeeding experience was satisfying and empowering to the mother because she was in control of how she fed her baby.
Dr Kasonde revealed that breastfeeding practices differed around the globe but that they needed to be protected and promoted among all mothers especially the poor and vulnerable mothers in rural areas.
“Mothers need to remember that the economic climate is undermining food security, yet the breast is there ready with milk anytime, any place, at the right temperature with all the right nutrients for the infant,’’ he said.
And Dr Kasonde said that every year Zambia joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week running from 1st to 7th August.
He said that this year’s theme “Breast feeding a key to sustainable development”, and that the theme had come at the right time when the world was focused on fostering development.
Dr Kasonde said one of the theme’s objectives was to firmly anchor breastfeeding as a key component of sustainable development that governed a variety of actions at all levels on breastfeeding.