The Ministry of Health with the statutory responsibility of promoting programs for Health and nutrition closely monitored all the processes leading to the passage of March 22, 2022, Nutrition Bill—the Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (CMBS)—into law, by the 54th Honorable House of Representatives.
Following the passage of the CMBS Bill, there has been misinformation in the public domain based on an erroneous media circulation that Exclusive Breast Feeding is mandatory in Liberia.
Considering the misinformation, we wish to make the following clarifications:
The purpose of the Bill is to regulate te marketing of foods and other products that threaten the welfare and health of infants and young children in Liberia, It Does Not Make Exclusive Breast Feeding Mandatory for Women.
The 34th Session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes in 1981 as a minimum requirement to protect and promote appropriate infant and young child feeding. It encourages the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding, and guide the proper use of breastmilk substitutes—if they must be used.
It is medically proven that breastmilk is the breast food for infants in their first 1000 days. Among several other benefits, exclusive breastfeeding, 0-6 months of birth, makes a child healthy, intelligent, strong, and creates stronger bonds between a child and the mother, and reduces families’ spending on medication and breast milk Substitutes.
Liberia, as a member of the Comity of nations, is taking steps to domesticate the World Health Assembly’s recommendations. Over 84 countries have domesticated the Code.
With the foregoing, the Ministry of Health, therefore, commends the Honorable House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature for passing the Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitute Bill into Law. We, therefore, encourage the August Body to review recommendations are still opportunities to listen to more opinions before the Senate concurs.
Special thanks to the Ministry of Health through the Nutrition Unit, and other agencies including Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, and the Joint Committee on Health and Judiciary of the House of Representatives. We also appreciate the support of our development partners including WHO, UNICEF, the Irish Embassy, UN REACH, WaterAid, Action Against Hunger, Concern World Wide, and SUNSCAL. We are grateful to other national and international institutions, women’s human rights and protection groups, the mothers, families, and the entire citizenry of the nation who continue to demonstrate support for under-five nutrition. It is hoped that this effort will double to accelerate a healthy and better future for Liberia.
(March 1, 2022, Monrovia, Liberia)—the government of Liberia, through Ministry of Health, has officially commissioned Liberia’s first National hemodialysis center, named Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Dialysis Center; in honor of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The dedication followed after a thorough assessment of the need to establish a dialysis center in Liberia, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led government in 2014, entered into a bilateral agreement with the Government of japan to build the first National Hemodialysis Center.
Subsequently, a medical team from the JFK Hospital was sent to Japan for training in early 2014. Regrettably, after their return, the project to establish the hemodialysis center was put on hold due to competing priorities from the devastating effects of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic that left our health system. The epidemic inflicted many Liberians, but we are told that the death of health workers reduced our health workforce by a little of over 8%.
One of such disastrous consequences evolving from the deadly EVD epidemic was the unfortunate death of one of the medical team members who traveled to Japan for hemodialysis training. Dr. Abraham Borbor, the nation’s dialysis pioneer, lost his life due to the deadly EVD in 2014.
On May 9, 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Liberia as the first country in the West African nation to eradicate the deadly EVD epidemic; Liberia had to make plans for recovery. The government developed a new post-Ebola five-year strategic plan to rebuild the health system; this plan included training of Medical Doctors and Nurses in various specialized health related fields.
As government is continuity, in early 2018, the government of Japan met with the newly elected government of President George Manneh Weah, through the Ministry of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and her able deputies without any hesitation, welcome the invitation to re-engage and further strengthen bilateral partnership to ensure the establishment of the National Hemodialysis Center.
At this point, Tokushukai Medical Group, sent Dr. Milanga to established, and plans were made to send the members of team on a study tour to Ghana to prepare them for the task of building a National Hemodialysis Center. The role of the Tokushukai Medical Group was 2-fold; to train a team of 6 (2 medical Doctors, 1 surgeon, 2 nurses and 1 biomedical technician), and purchase the equipment to run the Center. Through NIPRO (a partner of Tokushukai Medical Group) to new dialysis machines, a water system, and one-year warranty on the maintenance of machines were purchased and sent to Liberia.
Due to the need for additional resources, a proposal was submitted by the MOH to the World Bank, requesting additional support for the Center, World Bank approved our request for funding, and provided the much-needed support through the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is through this support of over $400,000 from the World Bank that the team completed the study tour, and the building was completely renovated, and extra consumables were purchased. Efforts to acquire the critical facility began a decade ago during the regime of former President Sirleaf to provide access to much-needed dialysis care in Liberia.
However, President George Manneh Weah, who officially opened the Center, acknowledged difficulties Liberians had endured in accessing advanced dialysis-related medical services outside of the country.
With the existential issues of Liberians travelling abroad for kidney treatment and other disease complications, he recounted: “For too long, Liberians have had to travel out of the country to seek dialysis treatment. No one needs to tell you how costly that is. Not only would you have to worry about the cost of treatment in a foreign country, there is airfare, accommodation, and so many other associated costs which make the overall cost of this lifesaving treatment unaffordable for many.”
President Weah expressed optimism that with the opening of the first Dialysis Center, “anyone and everyone can get affordable dialysis treatment right here in Liberia.”
He described the ten-bed facility as a good beginning, which he insisted is insufficient to address the needs of the entire country.
“I therefore wish to call for the early expansion of this facility, and its replication in other counties in order to provide easy access for our citizens who reside in the rural areas,” the Liberian Leader asserted.
President Weah stressed the need for appropriate budgetary support for the operation and maintenance of the facility, including the adequate supply of consumables and medications, and training.
President Weah reflected how he was briefed in 2018 upon taking office by the then newly-appointed Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah who told him that there was an urgent need for dialysis facilities in Liberia.
Dr. Jallah had told the President about existing efforts in the pipeline since 2011 under the previous administration for the establishment of a National Dialysis Center.
The President said he quickly instructed the Minister to exert every effort to bring the project to fruition, giving her his every encouragement and support.
“And so today, four years later, I am pleased to be here to participate in the Opening Ceremony of the first Liberia National Dialysis Center,” the President said.
President Weah emphasized the importance of the National Dialysis Center, describing it as a major milestone in the Government’s effort to provide comprehensive and modern health facilities to the People of Liberia. He particularly acknowledged the efforts of former President Sirleaf and ex- Health Minister Dr. Walter Gwinegale.
Dr. Weah also extolled the extraordinary role played by former Liberian Ambassador to Japan, Madam Youngor Telewoda, who is now accredited to Germany.
The President added: “I would also like to express my thanks and appreciation to all of those who, under my Administration, have worked tirelessly to complete the Liberia National Dialysis Center, including the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah and her able team, as well as the administrative and medical leadership of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.”
He extended profound thanks and deep appreciation to Dr. Tokuda Torao, the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Administrators of the Tokushukai Medical Corporation for what he termed “his kind philanthropy, without which this project might have taken much longer to realize.”
Meanwhile, Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, in remarks, thanked the Chairman of Tokushukai, Dr. Afuso Hisaaki, World Health Organization, World Bank, USAID, and her able staff at the Ministry for their continuous support to the project as well as the country’s health sector.
She expressed excitement for the project which will able treatment of kidney and other disease complications instead of Liberians travelling abroad for treatment: “I am excited because many Liberians suffering from kidney disease will receive treatment at their own health facility, which is a great achievement and a blessing for all of us, as a nation”.
Given her quest for the provision of quality healthcare delivery and to seeing the completion of the project coupled with its furnishing, Dr. Jallah recalled: “To seeing this project completed, I moved from store to store in Ghana to get some equipment that are not seen in Liberia. Fortunately, after all the turnaround, I was able to find them in one of the store.”
Earlier, Dr. Jerry Browne, Chief Executive Officer of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, underscored the importance for human resource development for the full operationalization and maintenance of the nation’s only dialysis center. A team of international medical practitioners has been providing instinct training to Liberian nurses and doctors are to take charge of the Center in the near future.
“Today, we are dedicating this beautiful facility but we should make sure this facility is maintained, nurses and doctors are trained and paid, hence, there should be stable electricity and there should be stand-by generator for this facility, so our people can’t suffer.”
“For the full advancement of health development, it needs holistic approach. The Ministry needs support in advancing the health agenda of the Country, which the World Health Organization (WHO) is committed to”. Dr. Peter Clement, WHO Country Representative to Liberia.
Several speeches were made during the dedication, as partners commit to contributing to the country health sector in order to meet universal health benchmarks.
(December 3, 2021, Monrovia, Liberia)-The attention of the Ministry has been drawn to the fraudulent act of some group of unscrupulous individuals masquerading the public space as Human Resource Director of the Ministry in disguise of providing vacancies by extorting money from their victims.
All Vacancies information provided by means of telephone relative to the TB Annex and central MOH for the sole purpose of stealing money by these dubious and unidentified individuals, are false, misleading, and do not exist.
The Ministry will consistently ensure to publish all vacancies signed by the Human Resource Director, and approved by the Deputy Minister for Administration in the local dailies and on the Ministry’s website.
Meanwhile, the Ministry frowns on this diabolical act and strongly warns all those involved to desist because any perpetrator apprehended, will be dealt with according to the laws of the State.
The Ministry further clarifies that at no time it has announced any vacancy in recent time for TB Annex or central office.
However, the Ministry wants to caution the public not to do any business with these individuals as they do not represent the Ministry.
Anyone doing business with these unidentified individuals without further inquiries from the MOH Communication Office is doing it on their own risk.
(Tuesday, November 9, 2021, Congo Town, Liberia)—the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with partners has officially launched a five-year National Malaria Social Behavior Change (SBC) Strategy, beginning 2021 to 2025.
The Liberia National Malaria Strategic plan (NSP) 2021-2025 redefines the strategic direction and focus of the Malaria program, including strengthening of management and coordination structure, health system, and capacities to achieve greater equality, coverage, quality, and more effective delivery of the interventions. In addition, the malaria NSP includes plan for preparedness and timely response during emergencies to ensure malaria control activities continue with minimal disruptions in an emergency (e.g., Ebola Virus Disease or coronavirus).
The launch which took place at the Ministry on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, gathering stakeholders from hybrid sectors, with both local and international organizations, including Global Fund, PCU, WHO, UNICEF, USAID/Breakthrough Action, amongst others, being in huge attendance.
As the first National Malaria Social Behavior Change Strategy for Liberia, this document is intended to guide all social and behavior change efforts supporting the objectives outlined in the NSP.
Calling on the public in general to change their behavior on the way they treat their surroundings was Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Hon. Norwu Howard: “We must change our behaviors on how we treat the places we live.”
The environmental factors such as the presence of bushes and stagnant water around homes were among few things the Deputy Minister spoke on; thereby encouraging the public to always clear their surroundings and use mosquitos net.
Though, there are several factors leading to the breeding of malaria across the nation, but with the coming in force of this Document, there will be room for improvement, according Oliver Pratt, Program Manager, National Malaria Control Program.
“Each of the stated SBC priority areas involves a range of actors within the Government of Liberia and external partners. SBC efforts can only realize their full potential for improving results with improved coordination at the national and sub-national levels. A shared agenda for SBC and clarity on the roles and responsibilities are critical to effectively implementing this strategy and fully achieving the objectives.
“while the NMCP is responsible for providing leadership, coordination, and strategic direction for operationalization of the strategy, effective collaboration with other multi-sectoral stakeholders at all levels will ensure strategy implementation and scale-up results in high-quality malaria prevention, care, and treatment efforts across Liberia. Through regular coordination meetings, message harmonization efforts, information sharing, joint monitoring, and other coordination efforts, the SBC efforts outlined in this strategy will reach the outlined objectives. Therefore, this strategy aligns with the coordination plan outlined and discussed in the National Malaria Strategic Plan 2021-2025. In addition, it is expected that all stakeholders, implementing partners, and donors will actively participate in providing technical and funding support as appropriate and support the implementation of the SBC interventions to support congruent thematic areas as outlined in the National Malaria Strategy Plan 202-2025, the National Communication Strategy (2016-2021), the National Health Promotion Policy and Plan,” Mr Pratt giving overview of the New National Malaria SBC Strategy (2021-2025).
However, in remarks was also Breakthrough Action’s Chief of Party Dr Saratu Olabode-Ojo, who explained the positive impacts being made by the US organization in twelve of Liberia’s fifteen Counties, particularly in the health sector.
“Breakthrough Action is the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) flagship social and behavior change (SBC) project by Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. The project will be implemented in Liberia from April 2020 to March 2022.
“Breakthrough Action works collaboratively in Liberia with the Ministry of Health at the national and subnational levels and in complementarity to relevant USAID implementing partners. The project is designed to: improve the effectiveness of SBC, implement high-quality SBC activities that will result in improved demand and use of health services for malaria; maternal, neonatal, and child health (MNCH); nutrition; family planning/ reproductive health (FP/RH); adolescent health (AH); and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); and support informed communities engaging in behaviors to prevent zoonotic and non-zoonotic infections in line with the global health security Agenda (GHSA)”, Dr. Olabode-Ojo.
Finally, in separate remarks, speakers representing diverse organizations pledged their commitment in supporting the new document launched for the provision and delivery of quality healthcare to the public.
(October 26, 2021, Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia)—Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah along with team of officials at the Ministry of Health on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, received a huge entourage headed by the Republic of Sierra Leone Vice President Mohammed Juldeh Jalloh.
The Sierra Leonean Vice President told Dr. Jallah and her Technicians that their visit to the Ministry was met to get firsthand information on how Liberia’s Health System is managed; and henceforth, build future bilateral relations that would enhance the provision of quality health services between the two Mano River Nations.
“Madam Minister, I supposed to be here with my health advisor, but I am sorry she’s on different assignments. Anyway, we have purposely come to get information on hospital management and its decentralization in Liberia’s. Because we have almost met the threshold of the Abuja Declaration, which calls for African Union Countries to allocate at least 15% of annual budget to improve the Health Sector.
“As we approach 2023, our government has allocated much to the health Sector with still little improvements in areas, which need urgent attention,” VP Jalloh told the gathering.
However, disclosing to the Sierra Leonean VP and his entourage, Dr Jallah assessed the country’s health administrative structure from decentralization to its complimentary components that are responsible for the day-to-day affairs of various health facilities’ functions across the Country.
“Mr Vice President, I want to say you are wholeheartedly welcome to visit us at the Ministry of Health. However, our health system is structure in the way that the County Health Officers are trained to manage our hospitals across the nation”, Dr. Jallah in a brief remark.
In the context of overseeing health administrators to provide effective and efficient management of medical centers, managing clinical operations, liaising between the administration and medical staff, and ensuring that patients receive the highest standard of medical care, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francis Kateh told the visiting guests that the health system is annexed in three tiers of care – primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Placing emphasis on the primary health system, Dr Kateh said this strategy was designed to get community dwellers in the health care delivery system by recruiting them to serve as primary health care providers in their respective communities, giving that almost two-thirds of Liberian households are located outside of facility locations.
“This necessitated a different approach to bridge the gap between available workforce and local health and service delivery needs. Consequently, the decision was made to adopt more informal methods. For example, a corps of Community Health Workers, equipped, trained, well supported, and recognized as a formal cadre within the County Health Teams would link dispersed populations to services and facilities at reasonable cost, and would form the backbone of Liberia’s rural health delivery strategy”, Dr Kateh.
(Saturday, October 16, 2021, Todee, District)—the Ministry of Health through the National Eyes Health Program on Saturday, October 16, 2021, joined global partners to observe World Eye Sight Day.
World Sight Day is an international day of awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October, to focus attention on the global issue of eye health, with a theme: “Love Your Eyes”.
In fulfilment of this historic occasion, earlier awareness was created in Todee District, rural Montserrado County. People living blindness or having eye sight issues were assembled at the Nyehn Health Center to receive free screenings and medical.
This year awareness is more important than ever as recently researchers have found a rise in nearsightedness in children during home confinement due to the pandemic. To help you access important educational information, we’ve put together a collection of resources that can be used individually.
“World Sight Day, observed annually on the second Thursday of October, is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment,” Dr Joseph Kerkulah, Director, National Eye Health Program at the Ministry of Health. “This year World Sight Day was observed on October 14 globally, but we decided to push it to this day (Saturday) to enable our people to fairly be a part of the process—the free eye screening you see our nurses and medical experts are carrying out here. Reduced or absent eyesight can have major and long-lasting effects on all aspects of life, including daily personal activities, interacting with the community, school and work opportunities and the ability to access public services.”
Several persons who went to the Nyehn Health Center expressed on how it takes to have or experience reduced eyesight which is reportedly caused by several factors, including diseases like diabetes and trachoma, trauma to the eyes, or conditions such as refractive error, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma.
“my eyes have been giving me hard time since 20 years ago. It started in 2000 when I was laying down after burning my cold; and while I eyes were opened, something dropped in my left eye. Since then, I have been experiencing little problem. But now, I barely read without eye glasses”, Eric Frederick, 55, a resident of Dogbah-Lon Ton, explained his ordeal.
Lions Clubs International partnered with blindness prevention organizations worldwide to commemorate the first World Sight Day on October 8, 1998. This event was later integrated into VISION 2020, a global initiative that the IAPB coordinates.
This year celebration is a joint program organized by the Ministry of Health, Lions club International, LV Prasad Eye Institute, EyeIliance, Sight Saver, Samaritan’s Purse and OneSight.
(August 18, 2021, 14 Street, Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia)—the Ministry of Health (MOH) and its partners on August 18, 2021 joined the world to observe the day commemorating celebration of World Breastfeeding Week.
The World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration held every year from August 1 to 7 in over 120 countries. The World Health Organization states breastfeeding as one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. This year, the theme for breastfeeding week is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”.
World Breastfeeding week is celebrated to encourage exclusive breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
The history of this week-long commemoration dates back to the 1990s when the World Health Organization ( WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) created the Innocent Declaration to promote and support breastfeeding.
The elaborate program held at the Royal Grant Hotel gathered participants from diverse backgrounds, who shared thoughts and made recommendations to stakeholders within the health sector as well as legislators to ignite breastfeeding policies and social change to stop giving water to babies under six (6) months. It also provided field agents and decision makers the opportunity to catalyze much-needed policy, social, institutional, community and family dialogue and change geared towards improving breastfeeding rates in Liberia. Seeing exclusive breastfeeding as a public health priority to improve the health and prosperity of children and nations was among few things highlighted.
Meanwhile, the Director of Family Health Division, Madam Bentoe Z. Tehoungue said: “some of us at this age we can still calculate, reason, and even still having teeth in our mouth; and I know, it is the contribution of breastmilk. So we want to encourage those who are now having children to be able to breastfeed their children. Breastmilk is the best milk for your babies. And we all need to encourage other people who are having children today to give their children breastmilk.”
“Breastfeeding is also known as nursing. It is the best way to provide young infants with the essential nutrients required for growth and development. Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean, and acts as the babies’ first vaccines protecting them against many common childhood illnesses. I am grateful that this week-long celebration is held in my county—Montserrado”, Dr. Yatta Wapoe, County Health Officer (CHO) of Montserrado Health Team, said in remarks.
For her part, Ministry of Health’s Director of Nutrition Dr. Annette Brima-Davis said her Division is doing everything possible to increase and promote messages on breastfeeding in order to educate the public in general.
She highlighted that the overarching goal of the week-long celebration is to highlight the importance of breastfeeding, to encourage and promote exclusive breastfeeding and to improve the health of babies and mothers all across the country.
“Breastfeeding promote better health for mothers and children alike. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and health diseased breastfeeding could avert 20,000 maternal deaths each year due to breast cancer,” she highlighted.
“As we begin the World Breastfeeding Week celebration, my satisfaction is all greater at this event once again demonstrates our common and unwavering commitment to join forces to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the fulfilment of every child’s right to health survival and development”, Dr. Gorbee G. Logan, Assistant Minister of Curative Health Services at the Ministry of Health, remarking on behalf of the Liberian government and the Ministry.
Dr Logan said significant efforts have been made in recent years by the government of Liberia with the support of UNICEF and partners to improve maternal and child nutrition; despite the current progress made, one-third of the children in Liberia suffer from chronic malnutrition.
“Breastfeeding gives all children the healthiest start in life. Breastmilk acts as a first vaccine, stimulates brain development and protects women’s health. When a mother breastfeeds, everyone benefits. Breastfeeding leads to lower healthcare cost and healthier family, and a smarter workforce.
Today, it is sadden to know that, six out of ten babies are initiated on breastmilk within an hour of birth. Four out of every ten babies in Liberia receives plain water, liquids and food in addition to breastmilk during their first six months of life, contributing to child malnutrition, illnesses and even death. Only 3% of children, age 6 to 23 months receive an adequate food,” he noted.
Dr. Logan said, given the theme for this year celebration ‘“Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”, the day should engineer a collective responsibility of everyone to protect, promote and support exclusive breastfeeding to improve the survival rate and early childhood development of children.
He thanked participants as well as partners including UNICEF, Concern Worldwide, WHO, WFP, Action Against Hunger, Water Aid, and SUNCSAL for continuous support and contribution towards the country’s health sector.
(August 12, 2021, Congo Town, Monrovia)—the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) attention has been drawn to a fake information circulating in the public glare concerning an individual who life was lost after being vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
This information is a complete fabrication and far from the truth.
The vaccine has been deemed safe by numerous regulatory bodies including the WHO and US FDA.
Therefore, the Ministry of Health wants those who are in the constant habit of spewing out fake and misleading information about the vaccines to desist.
However, the Ministry is encouraging all those who have not been vaccinated to take advantage of the ongoing J&J immunization process, as we await the arrival of the second doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines. Those eligible for the J&J Vaccines are only those who have not taken the AstraZeneca Vaccines.
(August 12, 2021, Congo Town, Liberia) As part of efforts to ignite breastfeeding policies and social change to stop giving water to babies under six (6) months, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and its partners will Monday, August 18, 2021, observe World Breastfeeding Day.
The program will be held at the Royal Grand Hotel under the theme “Protect Breastfeeding a Shared Responsibility”.
The breastfeeding week celebration aims to catalyze much-needed policy, social, institutional, community and family dialogue and change geared towards improving breastfeeding rates in Liberia. It calls on governments, partners and businesses in Liberia to take action and position exclusive breastfeeding as a public health priority to improve the health and prosperity of children and nations.
Meanwhile, the celebration is also expected to call on stakeholders, partners, businesses, communities and families to ensuring mothers get the protection and support they need to give their babies the best start in life.
Five out of every 10 babies in Liberia receive plain water, other liquids and foods in addition to breastmilk during their first six months of life, contributing to child malnutrition, illnesses and even death.
“Having a comprehensive national strategy that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding is the most effective way to influence the environmental, social, economic and behavioral factors that influence a mother’s decision to feed a child breastmilk only in the first six months of life,” Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, Minister of Health in Liberia.
For babies under six months to stay healthy, scientific evidence recommends giving them breastmilk only and on demand (day and night). No water, other liquids or foods should be given from the moment of birth until they reach six months of life, even in hot and dry climates, as breastmilk contains all the water and nutrients a baby needs to grow well.
Breastfeeding also has significant benefits for mothers by hastening recovery after childbirth, delaying the return of the menstrual cycle thus helping with birth spacing, and reducing the risk of cancer.
The costs of not breastfeeding are enormous: in addition to thousands of preventable deaths of children, it costs Liberia US$200,000 dollars annually to treat children with diarrhoea and pneumonia and type II diabetes in mothers that visit health facilities due to inadequate breastfeeding. Liberia stands to lose more than US$14 million a year due to future cognitive losses associated with not breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding is a team effort, governments, families, religious and community leaders, need to consistently advocate for increased maternity and respect for breastfeeding by employers including those in the private sector, and for the establishment of clean and secure spaces near workplaces where breastfeeding mothers can breastfeed,” said Laila Omar, UNICEF Representative in Liberia.