A new study has revealed that a number of Ugandan men pressurize their wives to breastfeed them, amid calls for the government to address the issue.
The recent study was conducted by Kyambogo University in Kampala and Britain’s University of Kent, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund in the rural Buikwe district where the practice is believed to be rampant.
According to The Guardian UK, findings from the study showed out that the practice is now linked to gender violence and coercive behavior.
Peter Rukundo, a senior lecturer at Kyambogo University who assisted with the research, attributed the practice to widespread belief in some communities that breast milk from their wives has some medicinal benefits.
“There is a belief in some communities that breast milk has energising and curative powers, even curing diseases such as HIV and Aids and cancer,” he said.
Thomas, one of such men, was quoted as telling the researchers that he feels energised after sucking his wife’s breast, adding non-compliance from her could result into violence.
“It sustains me, I come home for lunch and it relieves stress in the middle of the working day. She can’t say no because you become obsessed, it’s hard to stop. If women say no it can cause violence, it’s a big issue,” he said.
The practice had remained relatively quiet until Sarah Opendi, the country’s minister of state for health, raised the alarm while speaking at parliament.
“Men are part of the problem during breastfeeding. A mother is breastfeeding, you also want something on the other side, saying that it can cure HIV/AIDS, cancer, male dysfunction. It is a myth,” New Vision quoted her to have said this while addressing the house in August 2018.
While addressing the lawmakers during plenary, Opendi had warned “a growing culture of men demanding to suckle, which was becoming a problem for some breastfeeding mothers and their babies”.