Strategies being implemented to promote breastfeeding in western Jamaica

 Parish Nutritionist at the Western Regional Health Authority, Doncia Murray, says breastfeeding is crucial for a child's development.
Parish Nutritionist at the Western Regional Health Authority, Doncia Murray, says breastfeeding is crucial for a child’s development.

The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) says it continues to implement strategies to encourage and support breastfeeding in the region.

Parish Nutritionist with the WRHA, Doncia Murray, says the authority has established ‘Mother to Mother’ support groups in John’s Hall, St James, and Whitehouse, Westmoreland, to encourage exclusive breastfeeding beyond a baby’s first few weeks.

Murray added that a third group is to be established in Darliston, Westmoreland, shortly, and informed that the support groups are tasked with promoting breastfeeding as a best practice, as well as reinforce healthy practices for both mother and child.

“We are ensuring the children are well fed from the antenatal period up to two years and beyond.”

— Murray

“This not only starts when the child is born but, actually, we promote good nutrition for our mothers from the antenatal period, so we are ensuring the children are well fed from the antenatal period up to two years and beyond. Currently, in the Johns Hall area, we are trying to work at it in order to ensure that the community gets the benefits of this programme,” she said.

Murray pointed out that the WRHA is seeking to forge partnerships with the key stakeholders to change attitudes towards exclusive breastfeeding.

“Currently, we are still in the teething stage because it is a new programme. Persons are not really accustomed to an activity of this nature, so it is really a challenge. However, we have to target our key stakeholders, including our churches. Most of them have their women’s group in their organisation, so we are looking at partnering with them,” she noted.