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4 August 2010 - UNICEF and Sudan celebrate World Breastfeeding Week: health facilities are vital to promote good breastfeeding

KHARTOUM/JUBA, UNICEF and federal and state Ministries of Health are encouraging health facilities and practitioners all over Sudan to promote breastfeeding as the safest, most complete nutrition for newborns and infants. 

Within the celebrations of the World Breastfeeding Week, the theme for discussion and promotion in Sudan is the role healthcare facilities and practitioners should play in encouraging breastfeeding as the most beneficial practice for the health of newborn babies.

Information received from healthcare providers and other support groups has a strong influence on mothers’ attitudes to breastfeeding. UNICEF is working with government and public sector partners to increase the support and encouragement breastfeeding mothers receive, especially from health workers, counselors, employers, relief workers in emergencies, legislators, community social networks, and families.

Activities planned for World Breastfeeding Week will last throughout the month of August in Northern Sudan, and will be sponsored by the federal and state Ministries of Health in collaboration with UNICEF.  The celebration includes information campaigns on the importance of breastfeeding, training of health practitioners, nutritionists, and volunteers in hospitals and other health facilities, as well as workshops for policymakers and others to promote breastfeeding. Most activities in north will take place in Khartoum and Omdurman.

In Southern Sudan, group discussions on breastfeeding were held in hospitals, health centers, secondary schools, and with women’s groups. Also, information was carried by the media and leaflets will be distributed among the public to highlight the advantages and benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for babies from birth to six months. Similar activities are being carried out by the Ministries of Health in collaboration with UNICEF in Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile states.

Besides promoting the benefits and advantages of breastfeeding in hospitals and other healthcare providers, this year’s celebration focuses on training personnel at these facilities on the core actions promoted by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in 1989 to facilitate and encourage breastfeeding, known as the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding – The Baby-Friendly Way. Hospitals and healthcare centers in 152 countries have adopted these practices, significantly increasing the number of women who breastfeed. The Sudanese government and UNICEF emphasize the adoption of those 10 steps in health facilities countrywide, in order to become certified as baby-friendly and thus contribute to further increases in the number of mothers who breastfeed.

Note for the editors:

World Breastfeeding Week
World Breastfeeding Week was first celebrated in 1992 and is now observed in over 120 countries by UNICEF and its partners, including the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and WHO. The aim is to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which yields tremendous health benefits, providing critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases such as pneumonia and fostering growth and development. Continued breastfeeding after six months, for up to two years of age or beyond, combined with safe and appropriate complementary feeding, is the optimal approach to child feeding.
The 10 steps, first presented by WHO and UNICEF in 1989, call on every facility providing healthcare for pregnant women, new mothers and newborns to:

1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within 30 minutes of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed, and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
7. Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together - 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

 

 
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