Saffa Andrew Koroma, the Country Health and Nutrition Adviser at World Vision International, highlights breastfeeding’s crucial role as the cornerstone of life, providing each child with an equitable beginning.
He shared these remarks during a gathering at Aberdeen’s Atlantic Hotel in Freetown, where he met with Members of Parliament, the UN Family, and the Nutrition Directorate of the Ministry of Health.
Acknowledging the initial concerns raised by MPs about the Breastmilk Substitute Act’s potential impact on businesses, Deputy Majority Leader of the Parliament, Honorable Bashiru Sidique, revealed that the legislation has been put into effect. He explained, “This act outlines rules for breastmilk substitutes and outlines penalties for violations.”
Hon. Sidique praised the engagement, accentuating that MPs are important stakeholders, and their involvement means that societies are also engaged.
Andrew Koroma, the Nutrition Adviser, continued to emphasize that “breastfeeding improves the health, well-being, and survival of women and children.” He assured that World Vision is perpetrated to help the Government of Sierra Leone in improving exclusive breastfeeding and other critical nutrition indicators.
He stated, “At WV, we envision a world where every child has the opportunity for life in all its fullness.”
Considering the advantages of breastfeeding, he commented that “Good nutrition is the essential foundation for health and development.” However, he remarked that breastfeeding hangs around one of the world’s most mashing health issues and is the top contributor to child mortality. He divulged that World Vision’s goal is to assure that mothers and children are well-nourished across its global programming, including in Sierra Leone. He also emphasized the organization’s deep investment in the global fight against malnutrition, comprising innovative methods like involving grandmothers.
Koroma also mentioned a commitment of $500 million by Andrew Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision International, to combat malnutrition.
Liv Elin Indreiten, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in the UN Family, noted the significance of the Breastmilk Substitute Act, stating that without it, promoting exclusive breastfeeding would be more challenging. She highlighted the multiple benefits of breastfeeding, including providing vital health support for children and nurturing strong bonds between mother and child. Indreiten emphasized the collective responsibility of all stakeholders in achieving exclusive breastfeeding.
Koroma admitted that while breastfeeding is primarily a mother’s duty, strong support from fathers, partners, families, workplaces, and communities can enormously enrich breastfeeding exercises. He also emphasized that not breastfeeding is associated with lower intellect and results in annual financial losses of approximately $302 billion.
He specified some of the challenges facing breastfeeding, containing the lack of a conducive and supportive environment for women to breastfeed, the need for family and community support, appropriate workplace and employment policies, and the importance of addressing the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes.
On another note, Matron Mary Fullah, the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, emphasized that there is no substitute for breastmilk and called for exclusive breastfeeding.