Kisumu County has committed to increasing conducive spaces for breastfeeding in public places like markets, modeled around the pilot set up in Kibuye market.

The county director for public health, Mr. Fred Oluoch was presiding over the 2023 breastfeeding celebrations held at KMET complex where he urged mothers to breast feed their children exclusively for the first six months encouraging working mothers that the county government was committed to providing an enabling environment for residents to breastfeed their children..

KMET in partnership with the County Government of Kisumu hosted the 2023 breast feeding week celebrations on 7th August, with the theme of “Enabling breast feeding, making a difference for working mothers” at the KMET Health complex in Tom Mboya Estate Kisumu.  

The event, which was a collaborative effort of various health stakeholders, attracted about 300 participants, the majority being breast feeding mothers.

“The county government is working towards increasing the number of breastfeeding spaces within the county, especially in social centers like markets, just like the Kibuye market breastfeeding center, that will be accessible to all the residents of Kisumu County.”

The audience benefited from a cocktail of information and free health services focusing on the mother and child.

KMET’s Smart Start Initiative program staff facilitated a session on Nurturing and Care for Early Childhood development with an emphasis on the first 1000 days of life emphasizing the concept of responsive caregiving and the importance enabling children to play for optimum brain development.

Other services offered included cervical cancer screening, nutritional assessment and counseling, breastfeeding support, family planning, dental checkups, immunization, obstetric ultrasound and food and cooking demos for parents on the best way to prepare food for children.

The event was presided over by the County Director of Public Health, Mr. Fred Oluoch, accompanied by a host of the county health management team members.

The Kisumu County Central Subcounty nutritionist Monica Oyanga, conducted a live demonstration, involving the participants in preparing nutritious meals to enhance their understanding of the nutritional requirements for breastfeeding mothers and their infants.

Concluding the event on a high note, Nutritionists from Mama Toto Pregnancy and Care provided a comprehensive demonstration of proper breastfeeding techniques.

The event was a collaborative effort of different partners, including Kidogo, Red Cross Kenya, Advance Nutrition, Make me Smile Kenya, Mama Toto, Bioversity and the Kisumu County Government Health Department.

Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, as recommended by the World Health Organization, is vital for child growth and survival. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. This is because breast milk has adequate amounts of nutrients and water required for healthy growth as well as immune factors required for the development of the infant’s immune system in the first 4-6 months of life.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Kenya’s, Exclusive breastfeeding rates are at 61%, meaning there is a still a need for further improvement.

The event not only provided essential services to moms and children, but it also encouraged community involvement and raised awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding and adequate nutrition.

By Lilian Oiro