Photos and story by Lisi Emmanuel Alex, Communications Officer
In celebration of the Breastfeeding Week, mothers in South Sudan take the forefront to campaign with fellow mothers in the communities, including at an internally-displaced camp in Juba, the capital city. The weeklong campaign raises awareness about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and mother-to-mother sharing of the best practices.
After an awareness session in Gurei North, the nutrition nurses, with the help of the mother–to-mother support group, screened 103 children for malnutrition cases. Five children were found suffering from minimum acute malnutrition and one child has severe acute malnutrition. Gloria Joseph World Vision’s Nutrition Coordinator said that 1,173 children were admitted to out-patient therapeutic program (OTP) and 2,615 to targeted supplementary feeding program (TSFP) from January to June 2018.
This indicates a decrease compared to the previous years when children on OTP were 2,069 and on TSFP were 3,266. Gloria credits this to the nutrition team’s relentless campaign using all opportunities available. She adds, “A lot of parents and lactating mothers get also learn through community nutrition volunteers, mother-to-other support and regular radio programs.”
The mother-to-mother support group play a vital role in the campaign. They do house to house identification of malnutrition cases in the villages, assist in the mass screenings and refer malnourished children to the health centre for treatment. They also provide awareness on maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) through songs and dramas to educate mothers on proper way of raising infants. The mothers were supported with demonstration farms on kitchen gardening so they can provide micro-nutrient rich food to their growing children.
This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: A foundation of life” reiterates to mothers and everyone in the community that the valuable practice saves lives, helps build the babies’s immunity to diseases and helps them grow healthy and strong. Gloria explains, “Breastfeeding is not just a woman’s issue or the sole responsibility of a woman. The protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding is a collective societal responsibility.” The World Breastfeeding Week from 1-7 August 2018 is about working together to support mothers to continue breastfeeding until the baby is 2 years and above.
Let us all support it!