By Moses Masiye

Malawi ministry of health has emphasized on the need to create more awareness among policy makers and the community to enhance formulation of policies or legislation that would protect continued breast feeding.

Minister of health Atupele Muluzi said in Balaka Tuesday during the launch of 2017 breast feeding week, which runs up to August 7th.

Muluzi said it is sad to note that most working class and businesswomen think it is old-fashioned to exclusively breast feed, thereby posing health threat on children.

He said there is a need to galvanise multidimensional support from relevant sectors to develop and implement policies that are free from undue corporate influence, so as to ensure the breastfeeding and work are mutually exclusive.

The health minister said work policies  need to relate to promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding.

“Work and businesses force mothers to stop exclusive breast feeding or completely stop in a short period after delivery so as to report back to work or attend businesses, which in turn affect the infants negatively,” said Muluzi.

He urged communities and families to support mothers in raising awareness on the importance of breast milk, which among numerous benefits, helps early childhood development and increase intelligence.

Balaka district emerged a winner in terms of raising awareness on the importance of breastfeeding, which district commissioner Rodrick Mateauma and district health officer Dr. Eugine Katenga- Kaunda attributed to good working relationship among different stakeholders.

Malawi Demographic Health Survey conducted in 2016, revealed that the country’s exclusive breastfeeding rate dropped from 71 percent to 61 percent, a development reportedly contributing to high number of babies dying before reaching 28 days.

This year’s Breastfeeding Week is under the theme ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together