The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says breastfeeding is essential to healthy child growth and survival.


According to the GHS, children who are well breastfed are protected against infections while their mothers are secured from breast and ovarian cancer.


A Deputy Director of the GHS in charge of Reproductive and Child health, Dr Isabella Sagoe-Moses, who made these known on behalf of the GHS, added that breastfeeding was a collective societal responsibility to ensure that mothers breastfed their babies as recommended.


Dr Sagoe-Moses was speaking at the GHS’s Monthly Health Promotion campaign ahead of the 2017 World Breastfeeding Week to be commemorated on the theme: ' Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.'


This year's Breastfeeding Week focuses on four thematic areas — nutrition, food security and poverty reduction, survival, health and wellbeing, environment and climate change, and women's productivity and employment.


Dr  Sagoe-Moses said breastfeeding was a key element in attaining goal three of  the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as  stated in which targets the assurance of healthy lives and promotion of well-being at all ages.


She urged women to breastfeed their babies, irrespective of wherever they were and not feel shy, and for the workplace to ensure that it provided a suitable environment that was baby-friendly for mothers to feel comfortable in breastfeeding their babies.


Dr Sagoe-Moses announced that the World Breastfeeding Week would be launched on the 18th of August 2017 at Takoradi in the Western Region and called on queen mothers, chiefs, opinion leaders and the media to join in the advocacy and promotion of breastfeeding so that society would see it as a need to support women it that regard.


The Programmes Manager for Breastfeeding at the GHS, Mrs Eunice Sackey, said the objective of the 2017 celebration was to inform, anchor, engage and galvanize by working together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.


Mrs Sackey indicated that women who pressed breast milk and stored it due to their career should label it before storing it in the fridge and allow it to cool in warm water rather than heating it before giving it to the babies.


She disclosed that statistics from the Ghana Demographic Report showed that the rate at which women breastfed dropped to 46 per cent in 2010 and bounced back to 52 per cent as a result of public education and awareness creation, adding that there was the need to sustain it to avoid a dropping of rate and the exposure of babies and mothers to diseases.


She urged women to always observe their babies well and seek consultation from the midwives at the hospitals to avoid giving wrong diagnosis to their babies.


Source: ISD (Chantal Aidoo)