Tema Metro records 12.3% increase in early breastfeeding in first quarter 

The Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate recorded a 12.3 per cent increase in early breastfeeding initiation in the first quarter of 2024.  

Mr. Samuel Atuahene Antwi, the Tema Metro Nutritionist, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said that it recorded 87 percent of breastfeeding initiation in the first quarter of the year compared to the 75.1 percent documented in the same period in 2023. 

He said early breastfeeding initiation had many benefits for the newborn child, indicating that babies were to be put to the breast within 30 minutes after birth. 

He attributed the increase in early breastfeeding initiation to the directorate’s intensified monitoring and evaluation, training, and support visits to the various health institutions within the metropolis. 

He stated, however, that exclusive breastfeeding of infants 0–3 months for the first quarter was 87 percent compared to the 89.4 percent seen in the 2023 first quarter, adding that continued breastfeeding at one year also dropped to 0.89 percent as against the 1.2 percent documented for the 2023 first quarter. 

He encouraged mothers to continue breastfeeding their babies exclusively for six months, adding that “continue breastfeeding the child alongside complimentary food when they turn six months. This should continue for two years and beyond.” 

Touching on other child health promotion indicators, he stated that the directorate recorded 45.6 percent of routine Vitamin A supplement coverage for babies aged six to 11 months between January and March, showing a sharp decline over the 90.7 percent coverage in the same period in 2023. 

He said they realised that most of the women who delivered at Tema General Hospital were not residents of the Tema Metropolis; therefore, they returned to facilities in their districts for the supplement. 

The nutritionist said some data-capturing issues were being looked at and giving insight on the annual Africa Vaccination and Child Health Promotion Week celebration, he said it was celebrated nationwide to raise awareness about essential child health services offered freely at various health centres and outreach points. 

He said it brought to light the importance of immunisation, the need to increase vaccination coverage, and other child health interventions, among others. 

Mr. Antwi, therefore, entreated parents to take their children to the ‘weighing centres’ for the child to receive their vitamin A supplements in six-month intervals until they turn five years old. 

He added that immunisation helped to protect the child against childhood diseases; therefore, parents must endeavour to complete the immunisations for their children before they turn two years old and continue sending them regularly for five years. 

He said to prevent exposing the children to malaria, they must ensure that they slept under an insecticide mosquito net throughout the night. 

Source: GNA 

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.