The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has debunked the notion that the Covid-19 virus could be transmitted through the breast milk of an infected mother to a baby, saying there’s no evidence to support that.

This came up at a news conference to observe world breastfeeding week.

In its press release, the service noted that breastfeeding in Ghana has declined from 63 per cent in 2008 to 43 per cent in 2017.

Deputy Director for Nutrition, Esi Oforiwaa Amoaful, attributed this to unfavourable work conditions for most women, including inadequate maternity leave to encourage exclusive breastfeeding and advertisement that positions infant formulae as better than breast milk.

Data from the Statistical Service also shows that exclusive breastfeeding for newborns has also declined.

The GHS indicated that the situation has been compounded by the raging Covid-19 pandemic, which has disrupted breastfeeding support services globally.

GHS Director-General, Dr Patrick Kumah Aboagye, said, “there’s growing concern that producers of baby food have compounded this risk by invoking unfounded fears that breastfeeding can transit Covid-19 from mother to child and marketing their product as a safer alternative to breastfeeding.”

Speaking to JoyNews, he highlighted some interventions introduced by the Ghana Health Service to address the phenomenon.

This includes workplace support for breastfeeding.

“One of the key areas we’re looking at is workplace support for breastfeeding, where companies, workplaces, whether in the markets or malls, we create special places where mothers who are breastfeeding are able to breastfeed safely and in dignity. We’re also looking at how we can teach them to store breast milk and serve it later even when they’re not there….”

However, Deputy Director for Nutrition, Esi Oforiwaa Amoaful, cautioned breastfeeding mothers to take precautions not to infect their babies.

“However, one should note that if the caregiver is not masked and has the virus, she can then pass it on to the child. So the transmission is not through breast Milk, but it can be passed on as we all know.

“Therefore, even if a mother has tested positive for the virus, she should continue to breastfeed the baby as we recommend. However, she should wear her mask, washer hands and comply with all the recommended safety protocols, including cleaning all surfaces,” she told Ernest Kojo Manu on JoyNews Prime.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.


DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.