Dar es Salaam. The Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday launched a WhatsApp group to promote exclusive breastfeeding among women.
To be known as "Breastfeeding Support Group", the service will focus on promoting exclusive breastfeeding practices among expectant and new mothers in the country, according to Ms Akina Yusuph, the hospital’s nutritionist.
Ms Yusuph said the group will start with 50 expectant and new mothers and it will be administered by a breastfeeding educator with knowledge and experience on breastfeeding. More groups of 50 members each will be created as demand rises.
During the launch of the group, Ms Yusuph said at least 35 mothers have already joined. “We expect many more to join by the end of the day today. The moderator will be the one with good experience about breastfeeding.”
Interactive videos with demonstrations on breastfeeding were played in the waiting area of the Ante-Natal clinic.
Ms Pamela Seleman, 35, one of the new mothers expressed her optimism that the initiative would help in information sharing about breastfeeding practices.
"The initiative will help us when it comes to sharing the information about breastfeeding. Thus I am looking forward to sharing knowledge with my fellow friends in the group,” she said.
For her part, AKH Pediatrician and breastfeeding specialist Dr Mariam Noorani said there was still a need to educate mothers on importance of breastfeeding, saying majority children were at risk of developing diseases like malnutrition because they are not breastfed properly.
"Mothers do lack knowledge of breastfeeding and hence there is a need to put more efforts to educate them to ensure they start breastfeeding their children in accordance with the breastfeeding guidelines,’’ she said.