Still a half go without breastfeeding

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 04 Aug 2017, 19:27:46

Still a half go without breastfeeding

Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
To create mass awareness about the beneficial aspects of breastfeeding, the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is being observed across the country as elsewhere in the world from August 01. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) observes the week for global action with the theme being "Breastfeeding: Sustaining Breastfeeding Together" to support women in combining breastfeeding and work this year. Everyone around the world wishes all successes for the week as this can help build a healthy and intelligent society.

All conscious people around the world are of the view that there is no alternative to breastfeeding for the normal growth of children as it contains essential nutrition for the infants which increases resistance power.  Breastfeeding can ensure all essential elements needed for physical and mental growth of babies. Moreover, breast milk is a safe food for infants, which ensures sufficient nutrition and bolsters the immune system of babies.

The health ministry in Bangladesh claims that the country has achieved its desired rate of breastfeeding. According to Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (2014 BDHS), the percentage of breastfeeding in the country has increased by 55 per cent.

Health experts around the world maintain that at least 31 per cent death of children is preventable, if mothers suckle their babies within an hour after the birth and 13 per cent child deaths under the age of five can be prevented, if exclusively breastfeeding can be ensured for them. It is also said that breast milk has extraordinary advantages and breastfeeding during the initial months of life has a positive impact on a child's survival and its normal growth. As a result, this week provides an opportunity to create awareness among the countrymen to inspire the mothers to feed their children with breast milk.

The Chairman of Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation (BBF) said, "The situation has improved a lot, people are now more conscious of feeding their infants breast milk."

About setting up of a "breastfeeding corner" at every office in Bangladesh, it is suggested that non-government organisations should be more careful about the issue as most government organisations have the facility. To mark the week it is not enough to chalk out elaborate programmes, including processions, rallies and talk shows and publishing special articles in newspapers and telecasting and airing radio programmes highlighting significance of the week. But it is also necessary to use the services of the female health assistants who go from door to door to advise new mothers and would-be mothers to make them aware about the beneficial aspects of breastfeeding.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) supports countries in implementation and monitoring of the Code and the Comprehensive Implementation Plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding for six months to at least 50 per cent by 2025. The Bangladesh Health and Family Welfare Ministry has taken all preparations to observe the World Breastfeeding Week.

According to the health ministry, in Bangladesh the present breastfeeding rate is 55 per cent and the country is working to bring the rate up to 100 per cent. The ministry also urged all owners of garment factories and industries to set up breastfeeding corners for their employees in their respective offices and working premises. The ministry said the rate of caesarean births increased in Bangladesh as 20 to 25 per cent patients undergo surgery from government hospitals while it is 50 per cent at private hospitals.

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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