March 1, 2021

SA Encourages Breast Milk Donation initiative

Breast Feeding: Securing life of infants

Written by Shekinah Zaitun Salanje
Save the Children South Africa in partnership with the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR), the South African Civil Society for Women’s Adolescents and Children’s Health and the National Department of Health hosted an event in the Province of Gauteng to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week 2019 (1 – 7 August).

SA’s First Lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe emphasized the importance of developing local communities that encourage and reinforce mothers who breastfeed their babies.

W.H.O Official during the World breast feeding week 2019

Medical findings reveal that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life is the single best way to fight infection and malnutrition.

“We need to become a breastfeeding-friendly society and nation,” she said. “If South Africa is to reach the 2025 UN target of an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 50 per cent for the first six months of an infant’s life, we need to empower and support women who breastfeed in our communities.

South Africa currently has 32 % rate.

Just like blood donation, breast milk donation is encouraged and can be used to keep a baby alive, giving them essential nutrients for their growth and development. The donated milk is used to feed premature babies born receiving intensive care. Mothers were motivated to register as breast milk donors.

Malawi joined the rest of the world to commemorate the initiative. The rate of babies exclusively breast fed during the first six months is reported to have decreased in the country from 71% in 2011 to 61% in 2016.

UNICEF in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) emphasized on breast feeding of a new born within the first hour as it safeguards them from the risk of death and disease.

Educating more mothers on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding until six months and the benefits on the infant as well as breast milk donation will help reduce infant death in the country. Alternatively the rate will rise than go down as it has in the recent years.

SHEKINAH ZAITUN SALANJE

 

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