Wednesday, November 30

NaNA orientates Midwives and Nurses on health benefits of breast milk

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By: Haruna Kuyateh

The Regional Principal Nursing Officer at Farafenni Health Directorate in the North Bank Region has underscored the importance the Ministry of Health, and NaNA with support from UNICEF attaches to the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding during a two-day training on breast milk held at Regional Health Directorate in Farafenni.

The training was attended by 30 participants drawn from different health facilities and the Paramedic clinic of Gambia Fire and Rescue Services.

John Joseph Mendy was speaking at the end of the two days orientation for the nurses and midwives on the importance of early Initiation of breast milk for newborn babies.

He said the training will help to learn and share a new development in the best interest of the baby and mother, “breastfeeding is part of the training modules at the School of Nursing and Midwifery and including other higher institutions, to ensure the benefits and impact on the lives of babies and mothers.”

He used the moment to thank UNICEF through the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) for its strong partnership with the Ministry of Health.

The RPNO hailed UNICEF for the recent inauguration of 22 permanent hand-washing stations at various health facilities across the country.

Mariam Njie, the Deputy Coordinator at Reproductive and Maternal Neonatal Child Adolescent Health (RAMCAH) spoke at length on the important roles of Nurses and Midwives in promoting early initiation of breast milk. She said early Initiation is important for the survival of mothers and children.

However, she said research has shown that exclusive breastfeeding contributes to promote spacing of birth and encourages women on this. She noted that the health policy strongly advocates observing women after delivery for 24 hours and challenged Nurses and Midwives to uphold the practice. “All efforts should be taken to support Neonatal mothers and placed them under close observation before they are discharged according to the WHO and Ministry of Health standards,” she added.

The Deputy Coordinator emphasized that immediate neonatal care is key to keeping a close eye on the baby by trained healthcare service providers, this help to establish, maintain and support respiratory, safety, and prevent injuries and infections.

Musa Dahaba, a Senior Program Officer, and Fabakary, a Bass Nutrition Field Coordinator at NaNA expressed delight at high-level participation and urged participants to share best practices with others on the facility level of the health benefits of early initiation of breast milk.

He disclosed that NaNA and UNICEF attach great importance to the promoting Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and as a result selected hospital technical and support staff was trained to ensure all-inclusive participation in the education of mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding and in particular practicing exclusive breastfeeding.

The two officials said the orientation of nurses and midwives on early initiation of breast milk, will strengthen capacity gaps and by extension promote breast-feeding policy at the facility level.