The Ministry Health (MoH) has expressed concern over the 10 percent drop rate of exclusive breastfeeding by the majority of mothers in the country.
According to the Malawi Demographic Health Survey conducted in 2016, the country dropped from 71 percent to 61 percent, a development health experts say is contributing to the high number of babies dying before reaching 28 days.
MoH, Nutritionist, Ulunji Mezewa told journalists in the Northern Region over the weekend that the country is behind on breastfeeding compared with other countries in Africa.
Mezewa was speaking ahead of this year’s Breastfeeding Week that will run from August 1 to August 7 worldwide.
“As the country, we were supposed to be going up but, unfortunately, we are dropping.
“The drop has significantly impacted us because it is well known that exclusive breastfeeding is a key to the child survival and dropping means we have dropped points on child survival. So, this is not a welcome figure and it is an alarm to us for an action,” Mezuwa said.
He said some of the contributing factors are the increase of number of women who are working, arguing many rarely breastfeed their babies.
He said such mothers leave their babies with maids, with some babies’ milk on the market.
He said some women do not breastfeed because they argue that it is out of fashion.
“With the coming of fashion and other babies’ milk on shops, some mothers feel breastfeeding is old-fashioned.
“However, this is very dangerous because such women put lives of their babies at risk of suffering nutritious-related diseases. No wonder, such babies die, leading to the increase of numbers of babies dying before they reach the age of 28 days,” he said.
This year’s Breastfeeding Week has a theme Sustaining Breastfeeding Together and the campaign will be launched in Balaka on August 1.
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