Experts call for joint effort to promote breastfeeding

August 4, 2014 Off By Web Desk

Karachi: Around 435,000 children under five-year age die from various diseases annually in Pakistan and breastfeeding is only way to control the mortality rate of infants in the country.

These views were expressed by health experts at a seminar on topic “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life”, held at local hotel on Tuesday. The seminar was jointly organized by Health, Education & Literacy Programme (HELP) and Save the Children’s Every One Campaign. This seminar was arranged as part of the celebration of Breastfeeding Week being celebrated worldwide from August 4–8, 2014.

Chairperson HELP, Prof Dr Durre Samin Akram said only 37.1 percent of children below six months in Pakistan are exclusively breastfed and the rate of early initiation of breastfeeding (within an hour of birth) is only 28.8 percent. Punjab has the highest bottle feeding rates which are more in children born in cities, hospitals and homes of rich educated people. She was quoting analysis conducted on data from the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey.

President Pakistan Paediatric Association Prof Iqbal Memon said aim of breastfeeding week celebration was to highlight the importance of mother breastfeeding for children in society. He informed that around 435,000 children under five-year age die of various diseases like Diarrhoea, Gastro, TB and pneumonia annually in Pakistan. He said mortality rate could be reduced by promoting breastfeeding.

Dr Sabeen Adil said mother milk is complete nutrition for children as breastfeeding protects children and mothers from different diseases. She stressed the need to teach practical lactation management techniques.

Dr Shahzad urged the government to promote breastfeeding on media, both electronic and print through making advertisements and promote the issue.

Member Provincial Assembly, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, urged the government to pass the bill pending in assembly regarding breastfeeding and make efforts to implement such laws.

Provincial Manager, Save the Children, Iqbal Detho, proceeded with a briefing about Save the Children’s ‘EVERY ONE’ Campaign promoting early breastfeeding, highlighting his organization’s role in this aspect.

Representatives of media & the members of the Pakistan Paediatrician Council emphasized on the importance of health promotion campaigns through joint efforts in order to spread a positive image of breastfeeding. The importance of religious scholars and male family members in supporting the lactation process was also discussed in detail.

The seminar was attended by doctors and paediatricians, government officials, media, faculty from medical universities, and representatives of civil service organizations working in various communities of Sindh.

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