LESOTHO could significantly reduce the number of infants who are dying from common childhood diseases if mothers adhered to exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months from birth.
This was said by Deputy Health Minister Liteboho Kompi yesterday during Breastfeeding Week commemorations held in Ha-Khola, Mafeteng. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
This year, the commemorations were held under the theme: “Breast Feeding: A key to Sustainable Development.”
Ms Kompi said the advantages of breastfeeding exclusively were well documented as breast milk contained anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents as well as high levels of Vitamin A that protected infants against diseases.
“We want to ensure children grow up healthy, hence our encouragement for mothers to breastfeed their babies. It is through breastfeeding that we can achieve our goal of rearing healthy children in Lesotho who can contribute to economic growth,” she said.
The deputy minister said giving a child his or her mother’s milk only for the first six months after birth ensured better health, both mentally and physically. She said it was also cost effective because the mother would not have to worry about buying baby formula and use the money to buy other things.
“A child who was breastfed is more likely to do well at school and become an asset to their family and country. That is why we need encourage women to breast feed their children,” added Ms Kompi.