Stella breastfeeds her child as the team from the hospital look on during her follow up visit.
As the world celebrates World Breastfeeding Week, Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH) continues to offer the care and support to women in the area so they can feed and care for their infants and young children as best as possible.
BCH encourages breastfeeding in infants because breast milk is highly nutritious with easy-to-digest proteins and natural immunities that protect children against disease and infection. In addition, it reduces under-nutrition in children. BCH’s Community Health and Batwa programmes carry out community sensitisation about breastfeeding and gives health education talks both in the hospital and through outreach programmes in the surrounding communities. BCH also has a radio programme on a local station which discusses the necessity for breastfeeding, amongst other issues. Through these activities, mothers are told of the importance of breastfeeding for at least the first six months of the infant’s life, and helped them to maintain a balanced diet.
Recently, while visiting Kihembe, a Batwa settlement, the community health team came across a Mutwa woman named Kyogabirwe Stella. 14 year old Stella was carrying her three month old baby who was severely undernourished and weighed just 2.5 kilograms. Stella believed her child was bewitched and visited a traditional healer. However, with no signs of improvement and still unsure of what was wrong, she hoped to visit a health facility to help her sick child. It was while she was wondering where she would go and how that the health team arrived at her village and carried out tests, confirming that the baby was malnourished.
As the team talked to her in her small grass-thatched hut, they realized that she had abandoned the child as she lacked breast milk due to poor feeding and did not even know how to hold the baby. The team empowered her to overcome food insecurity by educating her on how to grow her own nutritious food. Also, she was taught how to hold the baby and breast feed it.
Stella was encouraged to bring her child to the Paediatrics unit at the hospital. The next day, she walked for two hours to visit the hospital: she was attended to immediately by the paediatrician and her child was admitted and given the necessary care. After three weeks of close monitoring and care, the child recovered and was discharged. Stella went back home very happy with lots of breast milk and thanking the hospital for saving the life of her child.
As children on the paediatric ward recover, and learn to play and enjoy themselves, nurses demonstrate to mothers how to prepare nutritional meals for their children. By the time they leave the hospital, the mothers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to keep their families healthy. This education programme enables BCH to hopefully prevent children coming back with similar problems.
Stella breastfeeds her child as the team from the hospital look on during her follow up visit. As the world … more