Maseru, Lesotho, 6th August 2015 - Hundreds of factory workers and the community gathered to commemorate the National Breastfeeding Week in Maseru on Thursday the 6th of August 2015, under the theme, “Breastfeeding and Work: let’s Make it Work”. The commemoration took place near Thetsane Industrial Area and was targeting the factory workers who normally face many challenges in relation to breastfeeding their children because of the nature of their work. The main speaker in this event was Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Seeiso.
She urged not only the government, but the employers and the entire community to support mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months exclusively. She emphasized that it was the responsibility of everyone to ensure that Lesotho complies with the many global conventions that it is part to. The breastfeeding event was also attended by the Minister of Health Dr. ‘Molotsi Monyamane, the Minister of Employment and Labour and Employment, Advocate Thulo Mahlakeng, the Deputy Minister of Health Ms. Liteboho Kompi, WHO Country representative Dr. Wilfred Nkhoma, Employees and Workers Representatives and many other government and health partner representatives.
Speaking at this event, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Wilfred Nkhoma, indicated that successful breastfeeding requires continuous support to the mothers, not only at home, but in the community and at work. “We urge health care providers, family members and the community at large to continue to support the breastfeeding mothers” He ended his remarks by congratulating all exclusively breastfeeding mothers in Lesotho and calling upon government to ensure supportive legislation and employers to set up breastfeeding and mother friendly workplace environments and conditions of employment.
The main commemoration event followed a heart breaking tour by Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Seeiso to several Metsoetseng (literaly translated, meaning a places of Breastfeeding Mothers) around the Thetsane Industral Area. These are privately owned day care facilities where mothers leave their children when they go to work in the factories. The ages of children that are cared for in these facilities range from six weeks to about five years. The situation in some of these facilities is very pathetic with poor ventilation, heating and lighting. The hygienic conditions, including sanitation, are also very poor in some of the facilities.
During this tour the nursing mothers in the day care facilities had an opportunity to share their experiences and challenges with Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Seeiso. These included, but were not limited to, problems posed by the children’s parents, inadequate supplies for the children such as food and nappies and poor health of some of the children they care for.