JIS News

Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester, is appealing for more Jamaican mothers to breastfeed their babies, noting that is the breast is the best and safest choice for nutrition, especially during emergency situations.
Noting that infants are at greater risk of contracting infections and diseases during emergencies, she stated that breast milk provides the best means of sustenance during those times, as is safe, sterile, and offers the first level of immunisation.
“We must inform mothers, breastfeeding advocates, communities, health professionals, Governments, our aid agencies, our donor agencies and the media, about how they can actively support breastfeeding before and during an emergency,” she stated.
Dr. Sheila Campbell-Forrester was addressing the launch of National Breastfeeding Week yesterday (Sept. 21) on the grounds of the Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny.
National Breastfeeding Week is being observed in Jamaica from September 20 to 25 under the theme: ‘Breastfeeding: A Vital and Natural Response, Especially in Emergencies’.
The theme underscores the need to sustain, promote and support breastfeeding during emergencies, to ensure infant survival and development.
According to Dr. Campbell-Forrester, the emphasis on breastfeeding during emergencies came out of a request from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to reinforce the vital role that breastfeeding plays in an emergency response.
She said that the drive also advocates for active support and protection of breastfeeding before and during emergencies.
According to the health official, every child has a right to be breastfed. She noted that infant formula, while marketed as convenient, may not necessarily be the best and as such, should not be the first choice for infant nutrition.
“The breast is best always, it requires no preparation, it is the real fast food, ready all the time, no heating is needed unless you have expressed it, no mixing needed, it is the real ready milk,” she stated.
Dr. Campbell-Forrester further argued that the healthy start to life provided by breast milk will promote healthy eating habits later in life and reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases.
Formed in 1991, WABA is a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide, which they believe is the right of all children and mothers. WABA works in liaison with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

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