ISLAMABAD (Adeeb Kakar): Nutrition Wing of the Ministry of Health Services & amp;C An advocacy and awareness seminar on breastfeeding practices was organised by the MoNHSR & amp;C in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other UN partners. 

Dr. Qibla Ayaz Chairman Islamic Ideology Council of Pakistan was guest of honour of the event. The AIM of the event was to create awareness among the population and share the accurate messages with regards to the best practices and also the benefits of Breastfeeding of the children especially the exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

The various  panel discussions highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding and its current situation in the country. The session highlighted the challenges, constraints in practicing the optimal breastfeeding by the mothers in the country.

The interactive discussion featured distinguished guests such as Dr Qibla Ayaz, Media Person Mr Yawar Abbas, Professor Dr. Syeda Batool Mazhar,
Professor Dr. Maqbool Hussain, HOD, Pediatric Department, PIMS, Dr. Saba Shuja , Ms. Deborah Wilson , WFP, Ms. Ellen Thom–  WHO.

The panel shared that breastfeeding
reduces maternal and child morbidity and mortality. The said Breastfeeding is so crucial for child physical and mental development and it growth and  the breastfed children have higher intelligence. it is evident that breastfeeding is one of the best investments in saving lives and improving the health, social
and economic development of individuals and nations and not breastfeeding results in economic losses of about $302 billion annually globally.

Breastfeeding is one of the most important public health interventions that we know of. It’s perfect; entirely natural, 100% nutritionally balanced and completely cost effective. Breastfeeding has profound benefits for infants that extend beyond childhood, numerous benefits for
mothers and benefits for the family. Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding is critical for the
achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It improves nutrition, prevents
child mortality and decreases the risk of non-communicable diseases, and supports cognitive development and education. Breastfeeding is also an enabler to ending poverty, promoting economic
growth and reducing inequalities. All these are global goals under the SDGs that Pakistan has also committed to achieving.

NNS 2018 data shows that around 4 to 5 out of every 10 mothers in the country initiate breastfeeding within the first hour and exclusively breastfeed their new-borns for six months – an inevitable requirement
to shield children from many health and nutrition related problems.

The panel as well as the audience
agreed that more is needed to be done to save children from stunting, wasting and other nutrition-related challenges that they are faced with.

“Evidence shows that an estimated 22% of newborn deaths could be prevented if breastfeeding is started within the first hour after birth”, says Dr. Baseer Khan Achakzai. “A mother breastfeeds
decreases the risk of developing breast cancer”.and make the child more intelligent.He said Breastfeeding Substitute Laws must be in acted to reduce the indiscriminate use of Formula milk for our childrens.

Dr Qibla Ayyaz shed the light on exclusive breastfeeding in the light of islamic preachings and said the Holy Prophet Peace be upon him was so respectful to the bibi Haleema , who breast fed the Holy Prophet, which reflects the importance of Breastfeeding for a child. He said there are Quranic Verses on the importance and necessities of  breastfeeding your childrens for two years.

Mr Yawar said the media has a pivotal role to send accurate messages and make the people aware of the benefits of Breastfeedings. He said use of social media is of paramount importance in today’s world.

Dr. Inoussa Kabore, UNICEF Deputy Representative calling on governments, donors, civil society, religious leaders, media, and the private sector to step up efforts to protect, promote and support
breastfeeding by Prioritizing investing in breastfeeding support.

At the end Dr Shabana DG thanked all the participants especially UN agencies, Ulema, media and civil society Organization for supporting the cause and said the Ministry will always be in support of all such initiatives for uplifting the better life and standards for achieving good health.

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