By Ramatoulie Jawo
The National Nutrition Agency (NaNa) and its partners announced on Tuesday that they will be launching a breastfeeding sensitization campaign with the theme “Enabling Breastfeeding; Making a Difference for Working Parents.”
The press conference was held to provide information about the campaign and to highlight the importance of breastfeeding for working parents. Distinguished speakers and experienced health professionals discussed the benefits of breastfeeding, the challenges faced by working mothers, and the resources available to support them.
NaNa aims to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding for both mothers and babies, and to empower working mothers to continue breastfeeding even after they return to work. The campaign will also highlight the role of employers in supporting breastfeeding employees.
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Speaking at the press event, Mr. Sanjally Trawally, Deputy Director of Health Promotion and Education, spoke about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding. He emphasized that breastfeeding a child for 6 months exclusively will improve the child’s health. Mr. Trawally also urged and encouraged everyone, especially men, to support breastfeeding women at home.
Mr. Malang N. Fofona, Deputy Executive Director of NaNa, added that the Gambia has instituted policies and strategies to promote, protect, and support exclusive breastfeeding. NaNa is a government agency that coordinates all nutrition activities in the Gambia. Mr. Fofana also pointed out that the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees every infant and child the right to good nutrition.
“Reflecting on this year’s theme, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that more than half of a billion working women are not given essential maternity protections nationally, and only a few countries provide employees with paid breaks and facilities for breastfeeding or expressing milk,” he said.
Mr. Fofana stated that the rates of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months have increased from 48% in 2013 to 54% in 2019 to 2020.
Mr. Fofana, added that the Gambia has already surpassed the global nutrition goal of boosting exclusive breastfeeding to 50% by 2025 while calling for more funds to achieve the 70% goal set by the World Health Assembly (WHA) for global nutrition by 2030 and their 60% exclusive breastfeeding target set in their National Nutrition policy 2021-2025.
“The agency also plans to advocate for a commitment from government institutions, beginning with itself, to establish a breastfeeding-friendly workplace or environment, for breastfeeding women. During the course of the whole month of August, the National Nutrition Agency and its partners will intensify and diversify social and behavioural change communities’ engagement,” he said.
Mr. Fofana said among the strategies to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding are the establishment of high-level stakeholder involvement in promoting exclusive breastfeeding.
Fatoumatta Lamarana Bah, a staff at the National Nutrition Agency, gave a testimony on her exclusive breastfeeding journey while encouraging the women to do exclusive breastfeeding to help for the betterment of the child.