By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
World Vision International Sierra Leone, together with the Ministry of Health and United Nations Family, has engaged Members of parliament on the Breast-Milk Substitute Act of 2012.
The engagement was done over the weekend at Atlantic Lumley Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.
The Breastmilk Substitute Act will provide safe and adequate nutrition for infants by promoting breastfeeding and regulating the marketing of breastmilk substitutes and for other related matters.
Country Health and Nutrition Advisor World Vision International, Saffa Andrew Koroma, said the effort in the promotion of optimal breastfeeding practice has led to improvement in breastfeeding practices with an increase rate in exclusive breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding, marked as the foundation of life, gives everyone a fair start in life. It improves the health, wellbeing and survival of women and children. As an organization, we are committed to supporting the government in improving the status of exclusive breastfeeding and other sensitive nutrition indicators,” Saffa Andrew Koroma said.
He continued that World Vision envisions a world where every child has the opportunity to the right of life in all it fullness, adding that good nutrition is an essential foundation for health and development.
He said malnutrition continues to be the world’s most serious health problem and the single biggest contributor to child mortality.
“Our goal is to ensure that mothers and children are well nourished across our global programming reach that includes Sierra Leone. World Vision has invested deeply in the global fight to end malnutrition, evidenced by compelling innovations addressing some of the most challenging aspects with sustainable methods,” he retreated
He continued that although breastfeeding is the mother’s domain, with close support from fathers, partners, families, workplaces and communities, breastfeeding improves gender-equitable parental social protection in all its forms.
He said breastmilk substitute is associated with lower intelligence and result in economic losses of about $302 billion annually and that there are many barriers to creating an enabling and supportive environment for women to breastfeed.
He said on the 14th December, 2020, World Vision International’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Morley, committed US$500 million to fight malnutrition, and told global nutrition leaders that eliminating malnutrition especially for women and girls, is a top priority for the organization.
Chief Nutritionist MoH, Matron Masry Fullah, assured the partners and the parliamentarians that they were working closely with the health workers across the country to sensitize mothers about the value of breastfeeding.
She said the ministry will continue to working with parliamentarians to see how they can put more effort in ensuring that women get proper understanding about breastfeeding
The Parliamentarians present promised their commitment to the Ministry of Health and its partners, that they will ensure that the Act reaches to their people.