12 December 2023, Abidjan, Ivory Coast – Breastfeeding is linked to many of the Sustainable Development Goals. Breastfeeding is, for example, a critical aspect in achieving SDG2 and SDG3 — which include ending hunger, improving nutrition, and promoting health and well-being.

Promoting breastfeeding practices such as initiation within one hour of birth and continuing for up to two years of age and beyond is essential for improving child health, preventing malnutrition, and reducing under-5 mortality. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth to six months can reduce infant mortality by 13% according to Le Lancet (2006) and it is estimated that the lives of 1.2 million children could be saved each year in the world thanks to this measure.

In Africa, 5 million children die each year before celebrating their 5th birthday. In Côte d'Ivoire, although a significant increase in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding has been recorded, passing from 23.5% in 2016 to 34% in 2021 (EDS 2021), efforts remain to be made with regard to the target set by 2025 which is to achieve 72%.

On 12 December 2023, UNITAR in collaboration with its International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) Dakar hosted the Training of Trainers Workshop “Promoting Breastfeeding Education in Sub-Saharan Africa” in Abidjan, Ivory Coast with the aim of providing a variety of educational tools that will target diverse audiences at policy, organizational, and community levels.

The workshop brings together 25 nurses and midwives together with representatives from the Association of Midwives from Ivory Coast (Association des Sages -Femmes de Côte d'Ivoire), the Nursing and Maternal Care Department (Direction des Soins Infirmiers et Maternels), Society of Pediatricians of Ivory Coast (Société Ivoirienne de Pédiatrie), and Danone Nutricia Africa.

Creating facilitating environments for breastfeeding requires knowledge of the science behind breastfeeding and a critical understanding of social and cultural factors that affect breastfeeding. Ms Adèle Kouadio Affoué, Midwife, Teacher and Supervisor of Care Units, agrees with this and stated that she was happy to receive the new information on breastfeeding positions to ensure that both baby and mother truly benefit from breastfeeding. Ms. Linda Messou, Community Midwife, plans to use the guidance manual “The Magic Drop” to share with her colleagues and to encourage expecting mothers to choose breastfeeding.

Considering local needs and priorities, Dr. Cisse Lassina, Chef de Service de l’unité Pédiatrique de l’Hôpital de Trecheville, Membre de la SIP, Cote d’Ivoire, Dr. Denis T. Kouely, Expert en Nutrition, Gestionnaire de Projects/Programmes, Manager Qualité, Programme National de Nutrition, Ministère de la Santé, de l'Hygiène Publique et de la CMU, and Dr. Marie-Hélène Aké-Assi, MCA de Pédiatrie, CHU de Cocody, UFR SMA – UFHB, facilitated the workshop, sharing expertise and good practices on protecting, promoting and maintaining breastfeeding. Ms Pascaline Kouassi Amoin, the Midwife, enjoyed the format delivery of the workshop, the use of practical case studies and visual aids has helped to reinforce the training and to keep the images in mind when they return to the health centres.

Mr. Mouhamed Diop, Director of CIFAL Dakar, highlighted:

Providing practical tools for promoting and supporting breastfeeding to a wide audience including women, their partners, community, and healthcare professionals is a key objective of this workshop.


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