Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breastfeeding: Men Urged to Support

The above is the caption attributed to an advocacy article published in Cameroon Tribune national daily of Tuesday, August 18, 2009 edition by Martin Nkematabong. In Cameroon, the breastfeeding rate remains as low as 24 per cent the newspaper informed its readers. This is how Martin Nkematabong narrated the advocacy story:
“The World Breastfeeding Week crusade kicked off in some 120 countries across the globe since August 1st under the theme <>. With respect to the agenda of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA, the Cameroon Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, launched the campaigns at Obala in the Centre region on August 6. This year’s activities aimed to draw community attention to the vital role breastfeeding plays during emergencies world wide, stress the need to protect and support breastfeeding before and after emergencies, and also mobilze and nurture networking and collaboration among stakeholders.
The crusades continue in the Littoral and south west region, where w local health NGO <> in partnership with two staff from a German owned NEON Magazine, Tobias Zick and Per-Anders Pettersson, propagated the doctrine of breastfeeding protection, promotion and support in community health posts and several enclave neighbourhood of Douala City.
According to the national coordinator of Cameroon Link, James Achanyi-Fontem, who is also the international coordinator of WABA Men’s Initiative, their target is to educate, mobilize and fully involve men and youths in breastfeeding advocacy nationwide.
Current statistics indicate that the breastfeeding rate in Cameroon stands at 24 per cent, an index considered relatively too low compared to other Africa countries. The malaise has been blamed on the lack of community involvement and commitment in antenatal and post natal education, absence of men and youth support groups, the unchecked manufacturing and dumping of infant formulae to both the working class and low income mothers, traditional beliefs that sustained breastfeeding prohibits sexual contact for too long, and that breast milk is an incomplete nutrition to the African child.
Besides that, the high incidence of the HIV/AIDS in the Cameroon has rendered breastmilk inedible to many families, while most health professionals still lack adequate knowledge about breastfeeding.
At the Obala launching ceremony, Mr. James Achanyi-Fontem, urged the Cameroon Minister of Public Health to help valoriser and reinforce the National Breastfeeding Code, which forbids the sale or promotion of breastmilk substitutes in hospital settings. As Martin Nkematabong did observe, <>.For more on the World Breastfeeding week, click on the following links – http://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/worldwide.htm, http://cameroonlink.blogspot.com and http://fecabpa.blogspot.com
Martin Nkematabong is a senior health journalist with the public national daily, Cameroon Tribune.Cameroon Tribune can be read on the following link - http://www.cameroon-tribune.net

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