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KZN Department of Health in R32 million drive to support and encourage Breastfeeding in KZN

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health marks National Breastfeeding Week by launching a R32m three year project aimed at improving exclusive breastfeeding rates in the province.

Known as the KwaZulu-Natal Initiative for Breastfeeding Support (KIBS), the project is funded by the KZN Department of Health and is a joint effort involving the University of KZN and the Elma Foundation. It is a collaborative project between the Department of Healthís Nutrition Unit and UKZNís Centre for Rural Health and Department of Paediatrics and will end in May 2017.

The KIBS project aims to improve breastfeeding rates among the most vulnerable newborns in the province by strengthening the provision of human milk banking to increase access to human milk for sick and small neonates in KwaZulu-Natal Province by 2017.

To achieve this, human milk banks will be set up in eleven regional hospitals. The project also aims to strengthen, support and promote breastfeeding in health institutions to increase early and exclusive breastfeeding within KwaZulu-Natal communities by March 2017. To achieve this, the DOH will create posts for 56 lactation advisors to support initiation of breastfeeding in all hospitals in KZN.

The Department has already employed over 500 nutrition advisors based in every primary health care facility, and this project will mentor and upskill these advisors by providing additional on-site support. This project will also develop the skills of 228 community health facilitators to support community caregivers to improve breastfeeding at the household level.

The third objective of the project is to increase acceptability of breastfeeding and human milk banking within KZN communities through community engagement and media messaging. A number of publicity drives promoting exclusive breastfeeding will be held in communities to create an awareness of its importance and relevance. The fourth objective is to monitor and evaluate the effect of interventions to promote breastfeeding on infant feeding practices in KwaZulu-Natal.

The media is invited to attend the launch of KIBS as follows:
Date : 5 August
Time : 10:30
Venue: UNITE, Gate 8, Off Rick Turner Road, Durban
RSVP: MaryAnn Francis, francism@ukzn.ac.za

Contact Details:
Department of Health
Mr Sam Mkhwanazi
Tel: 081 038 2193
Email: samuel.mkhwanazi@kznhealth.gov.za

University of KwaZulu-Natal
Professor Anna Coutsoudis
Tel: 031 2604489 / 0837886363
Email: coutsoud@ukzn.ac.za


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