Wednesday 16 January 2013

Guyana: Only one in 10 babies exclusively breastfed

On Tuesday 15th January, the situation of Guyana has been reviewed by the CRC at its 62nd session.
The Guyana periodic report mentions UNICEF Basic Indicators data indicating an alarmingly low 11% rate of exclusive breastfeeding under the age of 6 months, a 42% rate of breastfeeding with complementary food at 6-9 months and a 31% rate of continued breastfeeding at 20-23 months. The report recognizes “the need to accelerate appropriate caring and feeding practices for children aged 0-3 years”.

The members of the Committee asked several questions to the country delegation, including issues of health and nutrition. They asked the delegation whether Guyana has adopted a Code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes, whether action is taken against the violators and if programs on training of health professionals are in place.

The delegation did not address the questions in detail. However, it recognized that the country did not succeed in having an impact on breastfeeding, whose rate is still low. On the other hand, the delegation noted that in the interior area of the country, a main contributor to the drop of infant mortality is the fact that Amerindian mothers breastfeed their children up to 2 years.

Moreover, questions have been raised about data collected on maternal and child mortality, and the delegation detailed that the data are collected by the ministry of health on a monthly basis. It has also been noted that there are disparities in maternal mortality within the country, with higher rates found in big cities rather than the interior. The disparity has been explained considering that hospitals in the cities are where the more problematic cases arrive.

Guyana will receive recommendations by the CRC Committee at the end of this session.

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