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Minister of Health launches “WE PIKIN NETWORK”

BY SAHR DUMBAR MATTURI

In celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week with the theme “talk to me”, the National launching of the “WE PIKIN NETWORK” was held on the 4th of August 2011 at the Miatta conference hall in Freetown. The ceremony brought together suckling mothers from the various districts, nurses, donor partners with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Sedikey Dawo maintained that the breastfeeding week is a global initiative. He noted that breast milk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first six months of life and it continues to provide up to half or more of the child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life. He added that as soon as the baby is born breastfeeding should start, preferably within one hour, to prevent deaths among infants.

The National Nutritional Manager Madam Aminata. S. Kamara given the overview of “WE PIKIN NETWORK” maintained that they have formed groups of mothers at community level in the various districts that are taking care of children and are providing support to mothers to see reason to breastfeed their babies for a period of six months for the growth of their children in a monthly routine, and those who are not doing well are taken to hospitals.

USAID Country Program Manager Jean .E. Benedict in her statement said that they involved in providing training, adding that 11% of mothers in the country are breastfeeding their babies onto six months after birth. She added that SNAP is providing support for both mothers and fathers in the country for exclusive breastfeeding.

Vidhya .R. Ganesh deputy Representative UNICEF speaking on behalf of the UN Family cited the need for exclusive breastfeeding and that breastfeeding is good because it helps in reducing infant mortality in Sierra Leone.

The Minister of Health and Sanitation honorable Hawa Bangura  did  the official launching of the “WE PIKIN NETWORK”.

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