|Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 04, 2018 (SKNIS): Minister of State with responsibility for Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, while addressing the nation for Breast Feeding week 2018 said that the ministry views Breast Feeding Week as a time to remind the public that breastfeeding is a natural and a progressive building block that should immediately follow pregnancy and childbirth to improve the health and wellness of babies in the Federation.
“The Ministry of Health also views Breastfeeding Week as a time for all of us to be mindful of the fact that breastfeeding is a natural and progressive building block that should immediately follow pregnancy and childbirth so that our Nation’s children will have the best chance at living strong, resilient lives where illnesses, diseases and nutrition deficiencies are minimized during the entire life course,” she added.
Breastfeeding Week which was introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) is being celebrated from September 3 – 7 under the 2018 theme “Breastfeeding: Foundation for Life.”
Minister Phipps in her address noted that the celebration of Breastfeeding Week is in large measure to commemorate the “Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding” endorsed in Florence, Italy 1990 by the United Nations Member States.
She stated that the declaration called on governments to establish positive breastfeeding policies including advocacy for the practice in maternal and child health programming, facilitate access to information, advice and support for breastfeeding and the training of health educators on the benefits and skill-sets regarding breastfeeding.
“It was emphasized that women should be free to practice breastfeeding in both the workplace and the community, and that any barriers to such must be eliminated. As Minister of State with responsibility for health, I am happy to report that at all 17 of our Nation’s health centres and four hospitals, these critical steps are being practiced and encouraged by our health care workers,” she said.
Minister Phipps commended the staff of the Nutrition Surveillance Programme for its efforts in planning and preparing the week of activities in recognition of the importance of breastfeeding to infant health and development.
“The Ministry’s management team salutes their efforts and those of our nurses and midwives; general healthcare practitioners; and obstetricians, gynaecologists and paediatricians who tirelessly advocate that our people should – from birth through natural death – have every opportunity to lead whole and productive lives free of illness, disease, and disability through the promotion of breastfeeding from birth, and the adoption of healthy diets and lifestyle practices that together help to make us a healthy and prosperous Nation,” she said.