Hygiene and breastfeeding

Two leading causes of infant mortality are diarrhoea and acute respiratory tract infections and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), exclusive breastfeeding for a baby’s first six months reduces a child’s chances of succumbing to a number of preventable illnesses these two. The World Health Organisation therefore recommends exclusive breastfeeding for this period and partial breastfeeding into a child’s second year.

Another fundamental factor in reducing infant mortality is educating mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding, and to educate and empower South African women to continue breastfeeding, Philips AVENT will be contributing to improve mother and child`s health with 1 000 Manual Breast Pumps and 1 000 Nipple Protectors to carefully-selected healthcare providers throughout the country.

“Philips AVENT is a willing partner in this initiative and will contribute resources, educational strategies, time and effort to promote breastfeeding to save newborns in Africa,” says Dr Diana Plessis, Independent Midwifery Consultant (D.Cur Midwifery & Neonatology).“Breastfeeding has been recognised for most of human history, to be crucial for infant survival and offers significant benefits for mothers and babies,” she says.

Sterilisation plays a vital role in reducing the risk of infection in infants, as infections are the primary cause of infant mortality in Africa. To help support healthcare workers in their efforts to educate mothers about the importance of sterilisation, Philips AVENT will be supporting healthcare centres  with 50 Electric Steam Steriliser around the country, including the Medical Research Council in KwaZulu Natal and the Department of Health (Overberg region: Swellendam Sub-district). Philips AVENT will also issue information featuring tips on sterilisation and breastfeeding to physicians and healthcare professionals in government and private clinics to help them educate mothers and mothers-to-be.

Aiming to reduce infant mortality Philips AVENT is educating mothers to increase awareness of hygiene routine and breastfeeding.  Bacterial diarrhea is one of the major causes of infant mortality in Africa; with proper sterilisation routines of feeding equipment and longer breastfeeding cycle, we can achieve significant improvement in mother and child care.

(Presse release from Phillips AVENT, May 2011)

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