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Re: [pronut-hiv] BURKINA FASO: The path to mother's milk is paved withkola nuts (2)

  • From: "Rachel Stern" <>
  • Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 13:05:35 -0400

Oh those meddlesome grandparents again, always thinking they know better
than the health experts. Or maybe they are confusing current guidelines
(exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months) with previous official ones of a few years ago that were exclusive breastfeeding for 4 to 6 months.

Rachel Stern

----- "ProNut-HIV" wrote:

> ZINCKO, 4 August 2009 (IRIN) - Health centres in Burkina Faso tell mothers
> to feed their babies only breast milk until they are six months old to
> boost their immune systems, but this advice goes unheeded when the women
> return home.
> This is the second article in a five-part series marking World
> Breastfeeding Week and the undertapped yet life-saving potential of the
> practice in West Africa.
> Even if mothers agreed to feed their babies only breast milk - called
> exclusive breastfeeding - the real decision-makers in child care are
> grandparents. "Children do not belong to only their parents in African
> society," said D. Marc Sawoudogo, a nurse and director of the village
> clinic in Zincko, Kaya health district, 100km northeast of the capital,
> Ouagadougou.
> "Here, the grandparents take the babies as soon as they get home and
> dismiss the parents as if to say, 'Who do you think you are?' It is the
> old ladies who block exclusive breastfeeding from taking root," Sawoudogo
> commented. "You do not go against an African grandmother - I am a nurse
> and still have a hard time being diplomatic with my mother on these
> issues."
> Breast milk not only contains life-saving nutrients, but also antibodies
> that boost babies' immune systems against pneumonia and diarrhoea, the
> biggest child killers, the World Health Organization (WHO) has noted.
> West and Central Africa have some of the world's lowest exclusive
> breastfeeding rates - only 20 percent - and also one of the highest
> regional averages in infant mortality - 108 deaths per 1,000 live births -
> according to the United Nations.
> A 2006 study estimated that improved breastfeeding practices in West and
> Central Africa could save 300,000 lives annually.
> Initial findings in an ongoing study funded by the UN Children's Fund
> (UNICEF) on breastfeeding practices in Burkina Faso have shown that
> efforts by health centres to educate women about breastfeeding practices
> have little impact, said Marcel Daba Bengaly, the study coordinator.
> "They are told what to do about breastfeeding at the delivery ward, but
> when they get home they are faced with parents who do not agree to feed
> the baby only breast milk, so the advice is not heeded," said Bengaly.
> Yet a multi-agency report in 2008 noted that exclusive breastfeeding has
> increased in other communities.
> Over a decade, the number of babies from newborns to five months old who
> were exclusively breastfed increased from 10 percent to 43 percent in
> parts of Benin, from seven percent to 54 percent in Ghana, and from eight
> percent to 38 percent in Mali.
> This was achieved by means of theatre and flipcharts, volunteers and
> village leaders, local media and grandmothers, but much remains to be
> done: overburdened and sometimes illiterate community health workers, lack
> of follow-up and discontinued programme support were listed as challenges
> in the report.
> In Zincko village, clinic director Sawoudogo said he would like to talk to
> the grandmothers about allowing their daughters to breastfeed exclusively,
> but this would require money.
> "These ladies will not come out for nothing - we need to approach them
> with some token, an incentive, like when we bring kola nuts to meet with
> village chiefs. We do not make enough to pay for kola nuts with our own
> salaries," said the clinic director. "No kola nuts, no grandmothers."