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Uganda Releases Guidelines on Breastfeeding, Including Recommendations for HIV-Positive Women

April 27, 2009

Uganda's Ministry of Health last week released breastfeeding guidelines as part of a wider policy on feeding policies for infants and young children, New Vision reports. The guidelines also include breastfeeding recommendations for HIV-positive women. According to the guidelines, women should exclusively breastfeed for the first six months. In addition, they say that health workers should determine the HIV status of pregnant and breastfeeding women -- and that such women should disclose their status -- to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. According to the guidelines, HIV-positive women should still breastfeed for the first six months, regardless of their infants' HIV status, unless adequate breastmilk replacements are available. Current guidelines recommend HIV testing among infants at age six weeks if they are born to HIV-positive women.

The new guidelines also say that medical and nutritional care should be provided to malnourished children and low birthweight infants. Health Minister Stephen Mallinga said that the guidelines will be used by policymakers in the provision of maternal, child and reproductive health services in Uganda (Baguma, New Vision, 4/23).

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