By Faith Chimutsa
UNICEF,WHO,MOHCC joins hands in celebrating world breastfeeding week 2022 in Harare as breastfeeding is the cornerstone of infant and young child survival, nutrition development and maternal health.
Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by continued neonatal survival and reduce morbidity are recommended by WHO as a way to protect the practice of exclusive breastfeeding.
Speaking at the world breastfeeding celebrations ,WHO technical adviser under Family Reproductive Health, Zvanaka Sithole said that breast feeding mothers should get vaccinated since they are no reports that was reported showing the dangers of these COVID -19 vaccination jabs.
“Who recommends the use of COVID -19 vaccines in lactating women as in other adults,therefore healthy individual currently breastfeeding or expressing milk can receive vaccines .
“Who recommends that mothers who are vaccinated continue breastfeeding after vaccination,”said Sithole.
Speaking at the same occasion, UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Kudzai Mudukuti said breast milk is the best food for infants. It is clean,safe and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illness. Children who are not breadfed are higher risk from infections diseases as well as lifelong ill-health from some non communicable diseases.
“Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests,are less likely to be over weight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life.
“Women who breastfed also have reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers. It is important to continue to provide the necessary counselling and support for breastfeeding woman to build confidence in the safety and adequacy of breastfeeding and risks of not breastfeeding in the context of Covid-19,” said Mudukuti.
Media advised to provide platforms for awareness and information dissemination to communities and inform health sectors on community knowledge gaps, challenges identified.
“Media practitioners can protect and support breast feeding by working with expects to relay unbiased and current information,” she added.
Meanwhile ,from the available evidence mothers should be counselled that the benefits of breastfeeding substantially out weigh any risks of transmission. Regardless of COVID-19 mothers and infants should remain together, breastfeed, practice skin to skin contact and rooming in day and night while applying necessary infection prevention and control measures.