NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association held its Fourth Awards Banquet honouring mothers, advocates and educators of that natural form of feeding babies.
The event was held Sunday, October 8, 2023, at SuperClubs Breezes resort on Cable Beach. Among the honourees was the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, the Minister of Education and Technical & Vocational Training. Also present was Mrs. Ann Marie Davis, Spouse of The Prime Minister.
In his written message in the programme booklet, the Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville underscored the importance of breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding is not just a maternal duty; it is a shared responsibility that has profound and lasting effects on the health and well-being of our nation,” said Dr. Darville.
He noted that research has consistently shown that breastfeeding provides infants with the optimal start in life, offering essential nutrients, immune protection and fostering emotional bonds. Furthermore, breastfeeding is beneficial to mothers, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and supporting maternal and child mental health.
He then pointed out that this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme: “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents”, is a reminder that all must continue to champion the cause of breastfeeding particularly in the context of working parents.
Dr. Darville also confirmed his ministry’s commitment to supporting breastfeeding initiatives in The Bahamas, stating that it requires multifaceted and multi-sectoral efforts.
“Through the development and implementation of policies, enhancing lactation support programmes and raising awareness about the importance of breastfeeding within our communities all stakeholders can contribute to advancing a breastfeeding-friendly society,” he said.
Historically, the Bahamas National Breastfeeding Association (BNBA) extended as far back as 1993 when the Ministry of Health moved to strengthen strategies to reduce infant morbidity and mortality rates in the country. And, to protect the rights of working women, a relationship was developed with the National Tripartite Council through Sharon Martin, chairperson. Subsequently, networks were strengthened by longtime breastfeeding supporters, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin and Mrs Davis.
Efforts are underway to establish a local breastfeeding policy, a baby-friendly hospital, and a human milk bank.
Dr. Darville congratulated the honourees for their “exceptional contributions” to the breastfeeding campaign in The Bahamas.
Also honoured were Nurse Andrea Nottage; Nurse Marilyn Smith; Nurse Catriona McTaggart-Moncur; David L. Adams; Nurse Dabrielle Munnings; (retired) Nurse Constance Comery; Midwife Anna Forbes; Midwife Caroline Cartwright; and Felicity Darville, multimedia journalist and member of the BNBA.