And malnutrition is identified as a leading contributing factor to Sierra Leone’s high rate of infant deaths. The country is ranked as having the third highest rate of under-five mortality rate in Africa at 56 per 1000 live births, according to the 2017 Multiple Indicator Survey.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding as the only source of nutrient for babies until they are six months old. This means that within this period they do not consume anything other than breast milk – not even water.
The MoHS says only 62 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed in the country.
“We live in a harsh environment and if a child is exclusively breastfed, the child is given the opportunity to be healthy and strong enough to thrive in the next generation,” Dr. Amara Jambai, Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, said in a statement coinciding with the commencement of the WBW.
The WBW was set aside by the UN Health agency to promote this practice through public awareness raising. The theme for the 2019 commemoration is: “Empowering parents: Enable breastfeeding.
The MoHS has lined up a series of activities within the seven days to sensitize parents on the role of especially fathers in ensuring that their babies are breastfed.