Stakeholders seek to improve infant feeding practices


Minister Larue addressing guests and delegates at the opening of the workshop

A half-day workshop was organised recently at the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayan Diagnostic Centre where several recommendations were brought forward by those present.

The policy was drafted in 2010 and endorsed by the central management team from the ministry in 2011.

It will serve as a tool to safeguard feeding infants since they are particularly vulnerable especially during the transition period when complementary feeding starts.

In her opening speech, Minister for Health Mitcy Larue said all health workers, non-governmental bodies and partners delivering care to mothers and babies at all levels should play their part in upholding the policy.

“In the effort to put breastfeeding back in its rightful place, the Infant Feeding Policy was developed to create a hospital environment that promotes, protects and supports sound infant feeding practices in the country,” she said.

“The policy places particular emphasis on the need to promote, protect and support breastfeeding for the majority of infants whose mothers are HIV negative and for whom breastfeeding is a lifesaver.”

Mrs Larue added that the policy ensures that these infants who are unable to be breastfed, are cared for and nourished to the best possible standards and are protected from the disadvantages that arise from their inability to breastfeed.

The policy will support the Code of Marketing of Milk Substitute when it will be put into practice and the World Health Assembly resolution made in favour of the code.

Mrs Larue said the ministry through this policy is re-affirming its commitment to breastfeeding and pledge total support for moving the Seychelles Hospital towards ‘Baby Friendly’ accreditation.

The policy is intended to be used in the Seychelles Hospital and the ante-natal services nationally.

The ministry is calling on all private practitioners and service providers offering services to mothers and babies to support this policy.

Anne-Marie Bibi, the child and school health programme manager gave a presentation on the Baby Friendly Hospital initiative and Veraine Louis-Marie a nutritionist talked about the policy.

After the presentations, those present had the chance to ask questions, share suggestions and to discuss  ways to improve the draft.

Principal secretary for health Veronique Laporte, representatives of various organisations and health officials were present at the opening.