The Gambia on Saturday joined the rest of the world to observe World Breastfeeding Week. The theme for this year’s commemoration is, “Breastfeeding: a key to sustainable development”.
The theme is in line with the world’s focus on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that governments around the world have agreed to achieve by 2030.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Omar Sey, stated that the World Breastfeeding Week 2016 marks a new start for them to work together and show how they can achieve sustainable development through the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.
He affirmed that the objective of this year’s celebration is to inform people about the new SDGs and how their achievement can be facilitated by improving breastfeeding, infant and young child feeding, amongst others.
According to him, the theme also seeks to underscore the need for those who care about people, the planet, prosperity and peace, to join the many who believe in sustainable development, so that people will live in a way that does not harm the generations to come.
“It is obvious that in any journey, it is the first step that counts. Breastfeeding is the first practical step we can take to protect, not only the health of babies and mothers, but also the health of our planet – right from the start by providing green and sustainable nourishment to babies. Artificial feeding contributes to global warming which is causing climate change with catastrophic result,” he said.
The Health Minister further revealed that mother’s milk is an essential food resource which needs to be protected.
He reported that about 830 million women, mainly in developing countries, lack social protection in their job situation. Women, he added, are often forced to accept poorly paid low quality jobs.
The Minister however indicated that the Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh, has put the protection and advancement of women and children in the forefront of the development agenda of the country, adding that the Government is fully committed to the achievement of the SDGs and that is in the process of developing a new National Development Plan.
by Arfang MS Camara & Alieu Ceesay on Tour