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Parliamentarians prioritise breastfeeding in Sierra Leone

  |   SUN Civil Society Network, SUN Country Network

In July 2017, a 2-day dialogue in Sierra Leone brought together parliamentarians and supporters to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

Credit: Focus 1000

At the workshop at Tokeh beach, the group of officials of the Parliamentary Health and Legislative Committees, Directorate of Food & Nutrition, the Ministry of Health & Sanitation, the SUN Secretariat, Action Against Hunger, UNICEF and partners reviewed the situation of nutrition among children in Sierra Leone and revisited the draft Code on Breastmilk substitutes.

New Parliamentarian Committee

Subsequently, nine parliamentarians formed a committee with the mandate to accelerate the pace towards a national Code to regulate the sale of breastmilk substitutes across the nation.

Encouraging all MPs to disseminate the information in the materials provided today will be one way of supporting this very important issue. The more we spread the knowledge, the more we get people to learn the better the chances of changing attitudes. Because working mothers have to rush to the office, they have only 3 months maternity leave. How can we support that mother to continue breastfeeding for those first 6 months? As lawmakers, we need to look into this. If we want to protect breastfeeding we must look into these laws to protect the mothers.”

Hon. Chernor Marju Bah, Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament.

The participants applauded the progress made in exclusive breastfeeding rates for children under 6 months. Since 2000, breastfeeding rates have increased over 10 fold, from 4% in 2000 to over 58 % in 2014.

New platform for engagement

This high-level advocacy workshop, which was coordinated by Focus 1000, in collaboration with the SUN Secretariat, Directorate of Food and Nutrition and Action Against Hunger has created a new platform to engage and partner with parliamentarians on different aspects of child and maternal health across the nation.

Read more: Focus 1000 Parliamentarians Commit to fast track Code on Breast milk Substitutes

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