Poor breastfeeding results in high mortality rates in Isiolo – expert
Poor breastfeeding has been cited as one of the key contributors to the high maternal and infant mortality rates in Isiolo County and the entire northern Kenya region.
Hundreds of expectant and lactating mothers who gathered at the Isiolo Level 4 Hospital grounds to mark the World Breastfeeding Week celebrations were urged to adopt a culture of exclusive breastfeeding for their newborns for the first six months, and proceed for two years after introducing other foods.
Speaking during the event, Isiolo County executive in charge of health, Aisha Abdi, lamented that the breastfeeding statistics in Isiolo County were a clear indication that most mothers were not doing justice to their children.
She said that only two out of ten mothers adhered to the practice of proper breastfeeding.
She held that poor breastfeeding deprived infants of the natural immunity that comes from breast milk, hence exposing them to various illnesses that sometimes result in death of the newborns.
She also attributed the poor performance in schools to poor breastfeeding, adding that breast milk helps in the brain development of a child, adding that the same is clearly reflected in the academic performances of the respective kids during the later stages of life.
Aisha said that breastfeeding does not only benefit the newborn but also the lactating mothers since proper breastfeeding greatly reduces the chances of getting diseases like breast cancer.
The county first lady, Madina Doyo, said that it was an injustice for a lactating mother to deny her child breast milk, adding that the milk was a God-given present to all newborns.
She asked mothers to refrain from feeding their infants with other foods such as camel milk and fruits, urging them to focus on exclusive breastfeeding until the infant attains the age of six months.
Madina held that it was regrettable that over 80 percent of mothers in the region do not prioritise the practice of proper breastfeeding, adding that the reluctance by mothers posed a threat of diseases to both the infants and their mothers.
During the event various experts from the maternal health sector educated the mothers on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.