GIS - 04 August, 2015: The Ministry of Health and Quality of Life will conduct a study to identify the reasons behind the high Caesarean sections (CS) rate in Mauritius, which stands at 47% of all deliveries.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Gayan, this morning at Gold Crest Hotel in Quatre Bornes, at the launching of activities, and the opening ceremony of a workshop organised in the context of the World Breastfeeding Week 2015, being held from 1 to 7 August 2015.
The Minister expressed his concern of the high figure which he deemed ‘horrible’ and highlighted the necessity for an analysis of CS rates, stating that CS is usually used in clinical practice as a lifesaving procedure both for the mother and the baby. According to the World Health Organisation, the international healthcare community considers the “ideal rate” for CS to be between 10% and 15%.
Recalling that the objective of the World Breastfeeding Week is to encourage a breastfeeding culture as opposed to a bottle-feeding one, the Minister stressed that the theme chosen this year, Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work, is particularly appropriate given the changing landscape of family structures and employment patterns around the world. He pointed out that in line with the International Labour Organisation Maternity Protection Convention, Mauritius has increased maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks.
Mr Gayan also announced that his Ministry will be setting up a National Breastfeeding Committee and regional committees in all hospitals to ensure proper collection and evaluation of statistics on breastfeeding. He mentioned that other activities organised in the context of the World Breastfeeding Week will include sensitisation campaigns on the benefits of breastfeeding in Creole and Bhojpuri as well as continuous Medical and Nursing Educations for health personnel in each regional hospital.
To the participants of the workshop, Minister Gayan urged them to consider three necessary factors that support women to work and breastfeed. These are: time through the provision of adequate leave and flexible working hours; space/proximity through either infant care near the workplace, transportation or private facilities for expressing and storing breastmilk; and support from employers, management and superiors. It is to be noted that the objective of the workshop was to brainstorm on breastfeeding during working hours, the constraints encountered and the implications of implementing such a practice,
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. According to the WHO, breastfeeding is the best way to provide infants with the nutrients they need, and the organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until a baby is six months old.
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