Step up for Breastfeeding – Educate and Support

World Breastfeeding Week 2022 Advocacy and Awareness Seminar

Akhtar Shaheen Rind

World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration which is held every year early August in more than 120 countries. World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign that aims to inform, anchor, engage and galvanize action on breastfeeding and related issues.
Breastfeeding reduces child morbidity and mortality. Breastfed children have higher intelligence, and not breastfeeding results in economic losses of about $302 billion annually. 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. However, despite international recommendations, only 48% of all babies under-6 months are exclusively breastfed and 45% are breastfed within one hour.
Chaired and Co Chaired by Dr. Ibrahim Sarki, Additional Director on behalf of the DG Health Sindh, Taskforce Secretariat for Nutrition, Planning & Development Department (P&DD), and Accelerated Action Plan, Health Department Govt. of Sindh organized Advocacy and Awareness Seminar on World Breastfeeding Week in collaboration with the UNICEF so as to observe this week with zeal.
Mustafa Jamal Kazi, Program Coordinator AAP Secretariat for Nutrition chaired the event which was hosted by Dr. Sahib Jan Badar, Program Coordinator AAP, Health. Multi-sectoral departments such as Agriculture, Livestock, Population Welfare, Fisheries, Education, Local Govt. WASH, Social Protection, UN agencies (WHO,UNICEF, WFP), Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA), Society of Gynecology & Obstetrics (SOGP), Academia, PPHI, Civil society organizations and other segments of the society participated in this seminar.
Speaker belonging to different tiers of society expressed their valuable views during the seminar.
Prof. Dr. Salma Shaikh from Bilawal Medical College Hyderabad elaborated the importance of breastfeeding and IYCF practices in Pakistan.
Secretary General, Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Pakistan (SOGP) Dr. Tazeen Abbas, highlighted the Maternal Nutrition, Pregnancy Care & Initiation of Breastfeeding.
General Secretary, Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA) Dr. Khalid Shafi, discussed about how to step up and capacity building of service provider for lactation management and Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatives.
Program Coordinator AAP Health Dr. Sahibjan Badar, briefed about Nutrition Interventions and achievements in Sindh.
Pro Vice Chancellor Dow University of Health Sciences Dr. Nusrat Shah, insisted to involve community midwives, LHVs and nurses for counselling the community for the best practices of breastfeeding.
Program Coordinator, AAP Secretariat for Nutrition Jamal Mustafa Kazi, who was the Chief Guest of the day’s proceedings in his closing remarks, appreciated the AAP Health and UNICEF on bringing important stakeholders under one roof to discuss learning and sharing their contributions for improving the malnutrition situation among women and children.
He also appreciated the speakers for sharing situation analysis, difference initiatives to protect and promote breastfeeding, challenges and sought the commitments from pediatricians, obstetricians, and front line workers to play their active role to combat the menace of malnutrition.
The Program Coordinator emphasized to enhance the coordination among the sectors to achieve the results. He thanked to all participants for active participation in the event and requested to spread the messages on importance of breastfeeding among the community.
Nutrition officer UNICEF Dr. Mazhar Iqbal, talked about the importance of breastfeeding and the technical assistance & support being provided by UNICEF to protect and promote breastfeeding. He thanked all the speakers and participants for their participation and active engagement and providing valuable comments.
WBW this year focuses on strengthening the capacity of actors that have to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding across different levels of society. Target audience was informed, educated and empowered to strengthen their capacity to provide and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments for families in the post pandemic world.