Seychelles marks World Breastfeeding Week 2012


This event, held annually from August 1-7, is being celebrated under the theme: ‘Understanding the past – Planning the future’.

This year also marks 10 years of WHO/Unicef’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) which was first launched in 2002. The Global Strategy guides the development of policies and frameworks designed to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding thereafter until two years or beyond. It also recognises the importance of timely, adequate, safe and appropriate local complementary foods from the age of six months.

This year’s theme urges all countries to celebrate their accomplishments over the past twenty years but also to reflect and plan for enhanced feeding support and infant care for the future.  
The data collected for Nutrition Surveillance in the community for 2011 show:

• In comparison to previous years, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding is still low at six weeks and 50% of babies have already been introduced with infant formula and water.

• At one year of age, 46% of babies were still partially breastfed. By the time they had their second birthday however there was a decline in the rate and 57% of infants were consuming cow’s milk. 

The main recommendation of this survey is to increase community participation in the promotion of breastfeeding in the community, and have the support of other relevant stakeholders.
Seychelles celebrated its first WBW in 1997 and has had many accomplishments since then such as:

• Developed guidelines/ I.E.C. materials for health professionals and the general public
• Nutrition Clinic for pregnant women

• WHO training of trainers in infant and young child feeding in December 2008 who have since then trained other health professionals

• Development of the Seychelles Infant Feeding Policy in 2010, which is currently in its final stages of validation.

The main activity organised locally to mark WBW is the launch of the week at Grand Anse Praslin community centre today.

The programme for the launch consists of a message from the Minister for Health and from the WHO liaison officer, as well as presentation of certificates to those who attended the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative training.

This will be followed by a forum on breastfeeding and general baby care targeting women in the community.

A similar forum will also take place on Mahe on Monday August 6, in the telemedicine room at the Seychelles Hospital.

A studio clinic on breastfeeding and baby-care will be held on Wednesday August 8.
During the week, past TV spots will also be aired.

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