To mark World Breastfeeding Week which starts from 1 August to 7 August, Philips Africa has unveiled the results of it’s research focused on supporting new mothers in their breastfeeding journey.
A press statement which was released by Philips revealed that the research was carried out in October of 2014, by Philips and Dr. Monk, who spoke to over 400 working mothers with children under two years of age in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya in order to identify opportunities to support and empower them.
It identified key barriers for breastfeeding including unsupportive work environments and cultural influences, and is an outcome of Philips’ pledge to the United Nations Every Woman Every Child initiative.
According to the press statement, limited early initiation of breastfeeding, unsupportive work environments, and cultural influences, lack of access to breast milk expression facilities, poor day-care facilities, and impeding beliefs were among the challenges identified in the research.
The research showed that 52% of the mothers surveyed are aware that breastfeeding is the right thing to do yet the ability to balance work and motherhood in a busy African city is hard and these women had to go back to work within three months, making breastfeeding difficult.
In addition, pressure to work long days in order to make a sufficient income, stressful lives, and no space to express milk in the workplace, are all contributing factors to diminished breastfeeding rates.
Although 69% of women surveyed knew the importance of expressing breast milk if unable to breastfeed directly, the biggest barriers for new moms wanting to express included lack of space to express comfortably, access to technology like breast pumps, cooling and sterilization equipment and advice and coaching on the correct techniques to breastfeed enabling comfort and ease for both infant and mother.
In 2013, an estimated 106,000 children died in Kenya and 62,000 in Ghana, with pneumonia and diarrhoea being two of the leading causes of death and it was revealed that breastfed babies are 15 times less likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times less likely to die from diarrhoea.
In addition, recent research has found that children in African countries under five who are breastfed have a 14 times greater chance of survival, and any increase in intensity or duration of breastfeeding can help.
Philips also promised to utilize these findings with its rich innovation heritage and baby feeding expertise through its extensive Philips Avent range in order to help countries, including Ghana and Kenya, with the healthy development of their infant population.
“No mother should need to choose between earning a living, and giving their child the health benefits that only breastfeeding can provide,” Dr. Maarten van Herpen, Head of the Philips Africa Innovation Hub added, “At Philips, we have started to develop several innovative ideas that were inspired by the findings in this report. Hopefully, these innovations will prove effective to address some of the challenges to breastfeeding faced by mothers.”
By: Selassie A. Amissah Mensah /citifmonline.com/Ghana