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Women Drilled On Exclusive Breastfeeding 

By Lydie Yuri — A non–governmental organisation based in Bamenda, known as Health Development Consultancy Service, HEDEC, has drilled Northwest women on “Bobbi Be Best Project.”

Mother happily breastfeeds her baby

The seminar, which took place recently at the Presbyterian Church Centre hall in Bamenda, was funded by Nestle Foundation. Presenting the Bobbi Be Best, BBB Project, to stakeholders, the Executive Director of HEDEC, Lucy Bolima, said the project is out to promote Exclusive Breastfeeding to babies for six months before introducing other foods. 

Bolima said exclusive breast feeding is a programme to encourage breast milk because many people do not practice it.  She said other programmes like malaria and HIV have had audio programmes on health issues, reason why HEDEC came up with this project. 

She disclosed that Kumbo West in Bui Division was the targeted zone and HEDEC had to work with the community, beneficiary, involving focus group questionnaires and data collected from survey, was used to develop the programme. 

Bolima said she expects this programme to be bought by other stakeholders because the aim is for Cameroonians to be able to practise Exclusive Breastfeeding, EBF, and cut off the 34 percent to 75 percent, because, 90 percent of women do breastfeed, but only 30 percent do exclusive breastfeeding. She called on women to take informed decisions in cases of HIV and its latest development.

“I breastfed my second child for six months without giving her artificial foods, and she has not been sick for this period,” Sandrine Yollande Kossa, a mother of two from Kumbo told The Post. She said the first child was often sick of malaria, because she introduced other foods to him before six months. Yollande promised to educate her family members on BBB.

In a presentation, Dr. Patrick Okwen, who dwelled on feedback and discussions on policy briefs, said 66 percent of women do prevent exclusive breastfeeding. Dr. Okwen said HEDEC has as objective to promote right methods of contraceptives, educate young people and help development innovative idea, the potential to communicate behaviour change to reach large population through dissemination, discussions and impact knowledge. 

In an open debate, participants saw the need for interactive efforts and urged policy briefs to come out with audio and video drama; and opt for such programmes to be incorporated into ante-natal schemes. 

Okwen urged the Government to educate health care workers. For instance, you hear a nurse advising a breastfeeding mother to take plenty of palm wine to increase the flow of breast milk.
While closing the seminar, Josephine Awounfac from the Regional Delegation of Women Empowerment and Family, said her Ministry is encouraging efforts to empower women by using a natural source of breastfeeding in order to prevent mother and child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

She said breastfeeding is economical and will curb infant mortality and that the project is so timely because they are striving to achieve Millennium Development Goals to grassroots level.  Awounfac expressed thanks to all and called on all not to relent in their efforts, because, Government is ready to partner for a good reproductive health.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01364