GHS, FDA urge favourable environment for breastfeeding

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breastfeeding
Breastfeeding

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has called a favourable work environment for breastfeeding and working parents.

Long working hours, limited maternity leave, inadequate breastfeeding leave, and the stigma surrounding breastfeeding in the workplace are some barriers preventing parents from providing optimal nutrition for their infants.

A joint statement issued by the GHS and FDA and copied to the Ghana News Agency on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, has said.

World Breastfeeding Week is held in the first week of August (1-7) every year and it is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding.

The statement recommended laws and workplace policies for breastfeeding mothers, employer support, public awareness, capacity building, and cooperation between the government, the private sector, and civil society to promote breastfeeding-friendly policies.
The statement said critical actions were needed to reaffirm its commitment to promoting and supporting breastfeeding in the country.

This year’s breastfeeding week celebration is on the theme, “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents” which emphasizes the importance of creating a supportive environment that allows working parents to continue breastfeeding without affecting their work.

The statement said breastfeeding was a fundamental right of every child and that it was vital to child survival and development, adding that “it is not only a natural and nutritious act but an essential factor in building a healthier and more sustainable future for our society. As we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, we recognise the significant benefits of breastfeeding for infants, mothers, families, and communities.”

It said breast milk provided essential nutrients and antibodies that helped to protect infants from infections, reduce the risk of malnutrition, and improve cognitive development,
For mothers, breastfeeding promotes postpartum recovery, reduces the risk of certain cancers, and fosters a strong emotional bond with their babies, it said.

It said despite the irrefutable benefits of breastfeeding, many working parents still faced difficulties in keeping up with exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended six months and continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or longer.

It appealed to the media to promote positive and accurate breastfeeding messages to support working parents.

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