Notes to broadcasters
Infant nutrition is crucially important. Infants need breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life. After they are six months old, a variety of other nutritious foods can be introduced alongside continued breastfeeding. This is the advice of health experts, both local and international, who have studied the needs of newborns. Yet this advice is not always followed. More than 10 million children under five die each year. Malnutrition is a contributing factor in more than half of these deaths. Twenty percent of early childhood deaths could be prevented if these simple feeding guidelines were followed.
To adapt this script to your local situation, think about who you might interview. Perhaps someone from the national Health ministry or another health agency, or perhaps a doctor or nurse who specializes in infant care and feeding.
Joyce did not take the lectures seriously. She thought breastfeeding and preparing a variety of nutritious foods were for those who could not afford to buy formulas and processed cereals. She did not breastfeed her baby, but introduced processed cereals when the baby was six weeks old. Miriam, on the other hand, heeded the advice. She breastfed her baby exclusively for the first six months of life. After six months, she gave her baby a variety of other foods while continuing to breastfeed. Her baby grew well and very healthy. Joyce continued giving cereals to her baby even after the child was six months old. She never prepared food for her baby apart from the cereals, which she mixed with water or milk formulas. Her baby developed a rash all over her body and recurrent colds. Miriam tried to talk her friend into preparing her baby a variety of nutritious foods but Joyce did not give in. She thought that formula and cereals were the best diet for a baby born into a rich family. Joyce’s baby ended up being malnourished, while Miriam enjoyed bringing up a bouncing, healthy baby.Musical break
We are running out of time. We’ll ask [___________] to say bye to our listeners before we close the programme.
Contributed by Ncamsile Makhanjane, Nurse Midwife, and Micronutrient coordinator, Swaziland National Nutrition Council, Mbabane, Swaziland.
Reviewed by Thulani Mphosa, Nutritionist, Nutrition and Infant and Young Child Feeding Surveillance Officer, Swaziland National Nutrition Council, Mbabane.