H.E. Daouda Guindo, Representative of UNICEF pledged continued infant and young child feeding support during the official launching of the WBW 2013 celebration in Yaoundé.
Speaking on behalf of UNICEF, Daouda Guindo, said it was a pleasure that his organization joined all the other actors in the celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week. It is an occasion during which everybody, supports, encourages and promotes breastfeeding. It creates an opportunity to make the impact of breastfeeding visible and gives the people of the world to highlight that support for child survival. The theme of this year which is linked to mother support, he added, aims at drawing the attention of the public to the importance of mother support by the fathers and to inform the community on the efficiency of the key messages and to unite forces to achieve goals.
It is also an opportunity to encourage advocates of breastfeeding irrespective of the level of the interventions, while identifying focal points that encourage lactating mothers. The UNICEF representative told the government of Cameroon that if we have to successfully fight against malnutrition, more funding and engagement is needed, because breastfeeding is a capital human investment. Breastfeeding is another way of poverty reduction and the elimination of malnutrition. Daouda Guindo recalled that the last demographic survey shows that breastfeeding rate in Cameroon is only 20% and this is caused by the early introduction of other liquids and solid foods before the recommended age of six months. This tendency can be reversed if the family, community, work place, health facility and government circles’ interventions are intensified. The interventions must cover the periods before and after birth of a baby.
Breastfeeding is simple and less costly. It is baby’s food that cannot be replaced. UNICEF has made a substantial contribution for wider community outreach by signing a collaboration convention with the Federation of Cameroon Breastfeeding Promotion Associations (FECABPA). The financial assistance is destined for information and education of mothers, fathers and youths within communities throughout Cameroon. Another area of investment is the organisation of a breastfeeding caravan in the northern regions to involve traditional leaders and other stake holders.
Activities of the World Breastfeeding Week in Cameroon were extended to the 8th November 2013 to permit the key messages of support to breastfeeding mothers to reach all levels of the communities. He concluded saying that UNICEF is sensitive to all inputs and actions in favour of breastfeeding, as he expressed gratitude to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, WABA.
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.