Nutrition workshop to improve infant survival

Non-breastfed children are 14 times more likely to die in the first six months than exclusively breastfed infants. The steps to ultimately increase infant survival and improve early childhood development, breastfeeding and other vital considerations will be discussed at a free (non-denominational) two-day workshop on 18 and 19 November 2014 at Melville Junction Church in Johannesburg.

The workshop will address feeding, nutrition and caring for babies; the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) is calling all healthcare professionals, community leaders and new or expecting parents to unite on the topic of enhancing mother and infant well-being.

“We aim to significantly scale-up efforts to improve infant feeding practices in South Africa,” says Stasha Jordan, breastfeeding activist and executive director at the SABR. “We lose an estimated 20,000 babies under 1,8kg and 70,000 babies under 5kg every year – Mostly because breastfeeding rates in this country are dangerously low with only 7,2% of South African women breastfeeding.”

Neonatal healthcare thought-leader, Vanessa Booysen, is set to present this interactive workshop. The workshop will facilitate discussion around infant bonding during pregnancy and birth; caring and feeding of premature babies; how to ensure mothers produce sufficient milk; and infant feeding in the context of HIV and AIDS, among other things.

Booysen is currently the National Neonatal Lead Facilitator for Newborn Care in South Africa and has spent the last two decades empowering and motivating mothers and healthcare professionals on newborn care, prematurity, breastfeeding, skin to skin and kangaroo mother care.

Breastmilk offers newborn babies and infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development, and contains antibodies that protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide,” says Booysen. “Breastfeeding also benefits mothers by lowering their risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.”

The workshop will equip all delegates with vital insight into preparing for newborn babies, best birthing practices, nutritional considerations and overall well-being of mother and child.

“We invite all South Africans to come and learn more about mother and baby well-being in perinatal care to help drive the change toward lower infant mortality,” says Jordan. “We hope to unite communities, including healthcare professionals, parents and community leaders to ultimately work together towards a healthy next generation.”

To secure your free entry to the two-day workshop, please RSVP to Carlin at rsvp@dotgood.co.za or contact 011 447 0427 for more information.

To get involved and alleviate the challenges faced by the SABR, including low breastfeeding rates in South Africa, sourcing donor mothers and funding for the operation of the milk-banks, please visit www.sabr.org.za or call 011 482 1920 or e-mail: info@sabr.org.za.

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