The Ugandan Team Celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

08 Aug 2019

DolPHIN 2 team members at IDI recently planned, delivered and evaluated a week-long public engagement programme to run alongside World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2019, which ran under the theme ‘Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding’ and culminated in an exhibition at the National WBW celebrations in Uganda which was attended by policy makers, health care workers and HIV+ mothers, their partners and children.

Along with talks, Q+A sessions and an exhibition, IDI hosted a “grand celebration” of WBW. This included performance of an especially written play and songs about supporting breastfeeding mothers. This creative approach was extremely popular and encouraged both patients and management within the building to discuss support of breastfeeding mothers. Finally, Dr Waitt led a multidisciplinary team (nurse, nutritionist, social scientist, communications officer and patient representative) presenting an exhibition at the Uganda National WBW celebrations in Kiboga, a district three hours’ drive from Kampala. They engaged with a rural community, taking the message outside the clinic.

Over 700 patients were reached during these workshops. Feedback was collected from participants before and after sessions. When asked if they had any questions about breastfeeding, examples included, “If I have HIV and I breastfeed will my baby get sick?” and “Do the ARVs I swallow in any way affect my baby?” After the event, when asked what they had learnt, participants said “I have learnt if I take my treatment very well it is unlikely to pass HIV to my baby.” and “A breastfeeding mother needs support from the husband, the support includes financial, physical and spiritual support in order to reduce stress.”. We are delighted that the message of the safety of breastfeeding whilst on HIV treatment is getting out into the public.