Breastfeeding Week begins today


DHAKA, Aug 01, 2017 (BSS) – The World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) will be observed across the country as elsewhere in the world from today to create mass awareness of the beneficial aspects of breastfeeding.

This year, with the theme ‘Breastfeeding: Sustaining Breastfeeding
Together’, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) will observe the week for global action to support women in combining breastfeeding and work.

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in separate messages, today wished all successes of the week and hoped that the initiative would help build a healthy and intelligent society.

They said there is no alternative to breastfeeding for the normal growth of children as it contains essential nutrition for the infants which increase resistance power.

The President said breastfeeding can ensure all essential elements needed for physical and mental growth of babies.

The Prime Minister said, “Breast milk is safe food for infants, which ensures sufficient nutrition and increases immune system of babies.”

Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim will inaugurate the Week at Osmani Memorial Auditorium.

While addressing a press briefing on the occasion at the Health Ministry, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque today said the country has achieved its desired rate in breastfeeding.

According to Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (2014 BDHS), the percentage of breastfeeding in the country has increased by 55 percent, he said.

“At least 31 percent death of children is preventable if mothers suckle their babies within an hour after the birth and 13 percent child deaths under the age of five can be prevented if exclusively breastfeeding can be ensured for them,” he said.

Maleque said 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.

This week is an opportunity to create awareness among the countrymen to inspire the mothers to feed their children with breast milk, the junior minister said.

Secretary of the ministry Dr Serajul Huq Khan (Health Services Division) and Dr Sirajul Islam (Health Education Division), Additional Secretary Raxana Quader and Director General of Health Services Professor Dr Abul Kalam Azad were present at the briefing, among others.

“The situation has developed a lot, people now are more conscious of
feeding breast milk to their infants,” Chairman of Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation Dr SK Roy said while talking to BSS today.

About setting up ‘breastfeeding corner’ at every office, he suggested that non- government organisations should be more careful on the issue as most government organisations have the facility.

To mark the week, the Health Ministry, Directorate of Family Planning, community clinics, Institute of Public Health and Nutrition and Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation have chalked out elaborate programmes, including processions and rallies.

Newspapers will publish special articles while televisions and radio will air programmes highlighting significance of the week.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) supports countries with 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.