By James Achanyi-Fontem, camlinknews
The Administrator General of Nestle for Central Africa region, Thomas CASO, on the 16th June 2017 inaugurated the first enterprise breastfeeding room in Cameroon. The official ceremony was attended by the Littoral Regional Delegate for Public Health, Dr.YAMBA BEYAS Martin, his colleague of the delegation of women and the family, directors of the company and a host of other dignitaries.
According to information gathered during the ceremony, Nestle has inaugurated over 400 breastfeeding rooms around the world and the one in Cameroon is the fourth in the Central and West Africa Region.
Thomas CASO told the audience that since the invention of baby food in 1866 by Henri Nestle, the enterprise has never failed in its mission of regularly improving on the wellbeing, quality of life and contribution for a better future of populations around the world.
He added that the company has an ambition of contributing to the lives of individuals and families through the promotion and protection of breastfeeding by encouraging good nutrition of babies during the first 1000 days.
It is for this reason that the company started the initiative of creating enterprise breastfeeding rooms for its employees, as an employer that is favourable to the family by creating an environment for breastfeeding mothers in its enterprise.
This initiative falls within the company’s parental policy which aims at supporting employees to offer optimal nutrition opportunities to their babies during the first 1000 days. This also reaffirms its support to WHO/UNICEF recommendation for promotion of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life for all babies before the introduction of complimentary foods and continuing breastfeeding up to 24 months.
The second speaker at the occasion was was the president of Cameroon Mid-wives Association, who lauded the initiative and called on other enterprises to copy the good example. This initiative is not only life-saving, but also cost-effective as an opportunity for alleviation of poverty because breastfeeding has no cost attached to it. Breastmilk is ready at any time for the baby and it should be given on demand.
The littoral regional delegate for women and the family in Cameroon added her voice, saying Nestle BF Rom Initiative is supported by the government. It was made known that since 2013 when the Cameroon Society of paediatricians put exclusive breastfeeding rate in Cameroon at 28%, more progress has been made as the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative conducted in Cameroon in December 2016 puts the rate at 34%. These indicators show that Cameroon is making laudable progress in the area of infant and young child feeding promotion.
The occasion was animated with traditional rhythm and poem delivered in the Douala national language of Cameroon. This demonstrates the fact that local populations are better reached through the languages that they understand better.
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.