National infant and young child feeding network launched
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has officially launched its National Infant and Young Child Feeding Network.
The initiative, which is in collaboration with the National Infant and Young Child Feeding Committee, will equip mothers and caregivers with knowledge of proper nutrition principles for the healthy growth and development of infants and young children.
It comprises approximately 38 support groups islandwide, healthcare staff, parish infant and young child feeding committees as well as hospital infant committees.
Speaking at the launch at the Courtleigh Auditorium, New Kingston, portfolio Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, said the programme aims to create a strong support system for parents, providing them with practical guidance to ensure better health outcomes for their children.
“The initiative is an islandwide coordinated approach to providing support and care to mothers and children. It also allows participants, such as fathers, grandparents, and siblings, to share in the experience of feeding and childcare through the expert support of our trained and experienced facilitators,” he said.
Food Nutrition Advisor, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Audrey Morris, lauded the launch of the network, noting that the initiative will buttress the work already being done to promote breastfeeding and complementary feeding.
She said it will better enable Jamaica to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO) global nutrition target of ensuring that at least 50 per cent of babies, less than six months old, are exclusively breastfed by 2025.
She said that the WHO recommends initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life, exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life and the continuation of breastfeeding until two years or more, accompanied by nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods.