Breastfeeding in Kenya is on an upward trajectory says CS Mutahi Kagwe

CS Mutahi Kagwe

Kenya marked the World Breastfeeding Week amid calls for its greater uptake to boost the physical and cognitive development of children besides hastening the realization of health and nutrition-related universal goals

By The Weekly Vision

The proportion of Kenyan infants who are being exclusively breastfed in the first six months of birth has gone up amid friendly policies combined with public awareness, says Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mutahi Kagwe, he spoke during the launch of the World Breastfeeding Week on Friday. 

 He said that 61% of infants have benefitted from exclusive breastfeeding in the recent past, up from 13 % in 2003, leading to better health outcomes among minors. “More than six in ten infants are being initiated to breastfeeding within one hour of birth which protects them from infections and has a potential to avert 22 % of neonatal deaths,” noting these achievements have been made possible by the favourable policy and regulatory environment the government has created in addition to the promotion of optimal infant feeding practices.

Kenya has domesticated international statutes and best practices to promote breastfeeding, strengthen the immunity of children in the light of debilitating ailments

 Kenya marked the World Breastfeeding Week amid calls for its greater uptake to boost the physical and cognitive development of children besides hastening the realization of health and nutrition-related universal goals. Kagwe said the country has adopted a multi-sectoral approach involving health, agriculture, education and labour ministries to boost exclusive breastfeeding, achieve improved social and economic outcomes.

A young mother breastfeeds her child

Kenya has domesticated international statutes and best practices to promote breastfeeding, strengthen the immunity of children in the light of debilitating ailments. Employers have been incentivized to set up breastfeeding spaces for working mothers while promotion of substitutes to breast milk is being discouraged to help reduce harm to a child’s health, said Kagwe, adding that optimal breastfeeding is aligned with Kenya’s development blueprint focusing on food and nutritional security, universal health coverage and inclusive growth. 

He stressed that optimal breastfeeding is the key to strengthening the immunity of young children in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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