Mar 5, 2014, 9:47 AM
In 2008, The Gambia among 32 other countries conducted an assessment aimed at tracking infant and young child feeding policies and programmes worldwide.
An official report was then complied by the Global Breastfeeding Initiative for Child Survival (GBICS), in collaboration with the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN). In connection with that, a WBI Gambia report was launched on Tuesday at NaNA Conference hall in Bakau.
In his welcoming remarks, the executive director of NaNA, Pa Modou Phaal, said a country is always measured by the health of its children, adding that the aim of the event was to have a healthy Gambian population.
Mr Phaal also encouraged Gambians to improve on child survival rate while urging the people to use a holistic approach to that effect.
“A lot has been done, yet people have to intensify their efforts to towards the welfare of our children,” he said.
He added that continual forum on the issue will help people to address some of the challenges facing them on improving child survival rate in the country.
Mr Phaal also urged the participants to share the knowledge gained from the forum with other people at their workplaces and communities.
In her official launching, the permanent secretary at the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Women Affairs, Amie Njie, said the forum aimed at enabling women to successfully breastfeed their babies as well provide adequate complementary feeding with continued breastfeeding after the age of six months.
“This report has been generated through the International Baby Food Action Network- led country process involving governments, civil society and Non-Governmental Organisations,” she said.
The WBTi is an assessment and analysis of the ten areas of action of the Global Strategy for IYCF conducted nationally within a participatory framework by several stakeholders including the government, professional groups and civil society organisations.
The permanent secretary notes that the core values of the WBTi is not only about collecting data but also about working together to analyse and advocate to bridge gaps and raise the bar of implementing the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding in each country.
The Government of The Gambia, under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh, has accorded and will continue to accord high priority to the plight of women and children, particularly their health and nutritional status, she says, adding that the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Women’s Affairs through the National Nutrition Agency has developed the National Policy 2010-2020.
“The policy has outlined strategies that would help in addressing the ten areas assessed in the WBTi,” Mrs Njie said. “Equally, the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Women’s Affairs through the Bureau, in collaboration with stakeholders including NaNA, enacted the Women’s Act 2010, which provides six-month maternity leave for working mothers.”