Saturday, February 14, 2009

Salma Hayek Breastfeeds African Baby

Salma Hayek Breastfeeds African Baby
- unedited 8:10 version
- from abc news
- 2009.february

African mothers are stopping breastfeeding their babies way before their time. The WHO and doctors in Africa would like mothers to breastfeed until their babies until they are at least 2 years old because it is a baby's single source of best and sanitary nutrition. Men are urging and even forcing their wives to stop breastfeeding as quickly as possible because of cultural customs that forbid sexual intercourse with breastfeeding women.

"It is the best thing you can do for your child, not only the bonding, that's how you build the immune system, so in a country like Africa imagine how important it is for the mothers do that," she said. "But here, there is the belief that if you are breast-feeding you cannot have a sexual life so the husbands, of course, of these women are really encouraging them to stop and this is just a taboo", Salma Hayek UNICEF and Pampers representative.

Salma Hayek was visiting Sierra Leone during her work with the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. In 2008, Hayek became a spokeswoman for the Pampers "One Pack = One Vaccine" campaign to support UNICEF's efforts to eliminate tetanus. For each pack of specially marked Pampers diapers sold, parent company Proctor and Gamble donates the cost of one tetanus vaccine to UNICEF. The North American campaign has generated funding for more than 45 million vaccines since the beginning of 2008. "What really excited me about this was the concept of mothers from around the world working together to protect children," said Hayek, who is the mother herself.

To most people in the United States, tetanus brings to mind rusty nails and a quick trip to the doctor's office for a shot. But in developing countries like Sierra Leone, maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) is a top cause of death among mothers and their babies.

Why is tetanus so rampant in Sierra Leone and other developing countries? The tetanus bacteria are spread when dirt enters the body through a cut or wound. Mothers are often infected by contaminated instruments during childbirth. It similarly spreads to their infants when traditional birth attendants cut the umbilical cord with an unsanitary knife, or, as is often the case, the umbilical cord is dressed by the traditional method of packing it with dirt, clay or cow manure.

Sierra Leone has the highest infant and child death rate in the world. One in five children die before reaching their fifth birthday and tetanus is a big contributor - 21 percent of all infant deaths are related to tetanus. Related tetanus deaths are preventable with routine vaccinations. UNICEF has launched an initiative to eradicate the disease worldwide by 2012. In Sierra Leone the cost of immunizing one person is about 74 cents.


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