For World Breastfeeding Week 2022, we've asked a variety of people how they support and promote breastfeeding. Moussa Ouare is a midwife and president of Espace Maman Allaité, an association of mothers, fathers and health service providers. This is how Mr. Ouaré supports breastfeeding.
“At any moment a mother can find herself in need of some guidance or information – at any hour or wherever she may be.”
“We started in September 2020 with a WhatsApp group. The idea of the group came to me very simply. I had just realized that there are women who come to the health center for consultations and sometimes it is crowded, so they sometimes leave without being completely satisfied, without having the chance to speak. Others travel far to come to the health facility for concerns that are not worth the trip, really. I thought to myself: 'Why not make a WhatsApp group? It's just easier.’
“We quickly reached the group limit of 256 members; so we formed a second group. In 2021, we were up to 600 members, including men and healthcare professionals, providing information that prepares mothers-to-be for breastfeeding and helps mothers to breastfeed.
“A woman may need advice or information at any time, any time or anywhere. The WhatsApp group made it easy to provide support and make the support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And the mothers who are members of the groups who have acquired much more experience come to the aid of those who need it
“For example, there was a mother who came to the health center every month after giving birth for follow-up nutritional counseling sessions. At one point, I had traveled outside of Ouagadougou. She was very worried because her newborn had not passed a stool for four days. This worried her a lot. We connected via WhatsApp. I heard from her that her baby didn't have a fever and was actually nursing pretty well. So, I reassured her that her newborn was fine. On the morning of the seventh day, the baby had a bowel movement, and of course she was relieved. She told me via WhatsApp.
"Once we reached a large number of members in WhatsApp, we realized that creating an association would make it easier to manage the group and allow us to work in an official way. So, we created the association Espace Maman Allaite (Mothers Breastfeeding Space) in March 2022 to better support breastfeeding."
"We operate on the outskirts of Ouagadougou but also in the city center to help working women master the expression and conservation of breast milk when they return to work. We go into the communities and focus on community meetings - because it is more effective than just doing sensitization in health facilities. The reality is that older people in the community have a big influence on social behavior – they promote traditional behaviors that are not useful today. They promote these behaviors out of ignorance. Even if you raise awareness, many mothers cannot resist their pressure.
"It's satisfying to see that health workers from the WhatsApp group have seen their knowledge improved through information sharing in the platform, too."
Tres belle initiative qui va certainement contribuer à ameliorer la santé des nourrissons. Courage à vous. Que les bonnes volontés vous soutiennent.
I am glad to here this creating awareness about breastfeeding to local level ground and educating women on how to feed their babies well! But I suggests if your association can add our local Midwives (non -professional midwives) at the villages to give them training at their communities so that can help in giving advocacy!