Application to understand the merits of breastfeeding
Health Ministry officials and experts have called for understanding the value of breastfeeding, as Cambodian women are turning away from the practice at an alarming rate.
The call was made on June 24 during the launch of lactation rooms in the factories of Keme Garment (Cambodia) Co Ltd and JIA Garment Co Ltd, the first two in Kampot to have them. The zones were organized by Helen Keller International and GIZ-MUSEFO.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Prak Sophonneary, who attended the launch, encouraged workers to see the enormous intrinsic value of breastfeeding for mother and child.
“I call on all workers to consider the value of breastfeeding our children, because we know clearly that you all really want your children to be smart, to have good brains and good health, to be intelligent, without disease, strong and beautiful. All of these qualities can be achieved by simply practicing breastfeeding,” she said.
According to the 2022 Health and Population Monitoring Report, about 65% of mothers were breastfeeding in 2014, up from 51% this year.
“There are no studies explaining why there is a huge drop in breastfeeding, but there are several factors, such as the fact that 76% of women are officially employed and forced to give up breastfeeding for resume their normal work,” Sophoneneary said.
She also attributed the decline to lack of support from family, relatives, employers and relevant institutions, and the prevailing attitude that breastfeeding is solely the responsibility of women.
She also blamed infant formula ads that convey the message that their product is for the modern-age baby and downplay the merits of breastfeeding.
Hou Kroeun, Deputy Country Director of Helen Keller International, said promoting nutrition and breastfeeding in factories and manufacturing companies provides many benefits to employees and employers, such as reduced expenses and absences. at work and increased productivity.
Keme Garment Cambodia representative, Charles Li, thanked Helen Keller and GIZ-MUSEFO for the technical support and supply of materials for setting up the lactation rooms in the two factories, as part of a project pilot – “Workplace Nutrition, Infant and Young Child Feeding Support Project”.
He said his factory employed 2,243 workers, including 1,883 women and 57 pregnant women.
Li admitted that his factory previously had breastfeeding facilities, but was under-equipped to meet the needs of breastfeeding workers. He also claimed that workers at the time lacked understanding of issues related to breastfeeding, healthy diets and nutrition.
But since May 2022, a factory team has been working with Helen Keller International on breastfeeding and nutrition issues, and setting up the lactation facilities which were completed earlier this month.
He said the lactation room is well decorated and well stocked with standard lactation equipment and materials.
“I am also impressed by the quality of the decoration of the breastfeeding room, with attractive pictures and flowers that can make mothers feel fresh for breastfeeding, as well as beautiful tables, practical chairs, cabinets, IEC [information, education and communication] materials, registers, boilers, refrigerators, breast pumps, sinks, hand washing soap and other materials,” Li said.
He added that nursing mothers with children at home could use breast pumps in the bedroom and store their milk in storage bags to keep in the fridge.