Tuesday, September 28, 2021

MOPH and partners celebrate World Breastfeeding Week

  • Aug 01, 2021
  • Author: QT-Online
  • Number of views: 1569
  • Top News
Tribune News Network
The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in conjunction with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), and Sidra Medicine, is highlighting World Breastfeeding Week from 1 to 7 August under the theme: “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility” to draw attention to the importance of supporting women to successfully breastfeed their babies, especially within the first few hours of giving birth and exclusively throughout babies’ first six months.
On this occasion, the MOPH and its partners are launching an awareness campaign to promote breastfeeding. Awareness lectures will be held in Arabic and English at the mother and child forum to discuss the importance of breastfeeding for mother and child, common challenges related to breastfeeding, as well as ways to access health services related to breastfeeding. Moreover, face-to-face virtual breastfeeding educational sessions will be run by the Women’s Wellness and Research Center’s (WWRC), and community awareness will be intensified using media and social media to deliver messages that support breastfeeding.
Dr Sadriya Al-Kohji, Assistant Medical Director for Children and Adolescent Services at PHCC and National Lead for Healthy Children and Adolescents Strategies, has  stated that the health sector in Qatar continues its efforts to achieve the national goal of increasing exclusive breastfeeding throughout the first six months of the infant's life, as part of the National Health Strategy 2018-2022, as well as to advocate breastfeeding until the age of two years in order to provide a healthier life for children. She added that such efforts are also in line with the global strategy for infant and young child feeding by protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding.
Qatar National Health Strategy 2018-2022 Lead for Healthy Women Leading to Healthy Pregnancies, Dr. Najat Ali Mohsen Khenyab says, “One of our plans under the ‘Healthy Women Leading to Healthy Pregnancies’ is to help, inform and empower women to lead healthier lives by providing them with high quality maternal care, enabling them to take care of themselves and their children. One of the objectives of achieving this is by supporting breastfeeding at the national level.”
“By joining hands across the public healthcare sector to promote breastfeeding, we are aiming to ensure as many women as possible in Qatar and their families will continue to embrace the practice of breastfeeding as a means of protecting infants and ensuring their wellbeing,” Dr. Khenyab adds.
Dr. Salah Abdulla Alyafei Acting Manager, Health Promotion and Non-Communicable Diseases and Head of Health Education Programs, MOPH, said: The Ministry is working in cooperation with its partners in the health sector to promote breastfeeding awareness for both the child and the mother through launching awareness campaigns and correcting misconceptions about it, in addition to launching several initiatives aimed at increasing the level of breastfeeding and addressing the challenges faced by breastfeeding mothers.
Ms. Fetna Al-Naemi, Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Program and WBW national coordinator and nutrition advisor at MOPH, has said: “Through BFHI, we are keen to assist mothers in applying optimal practices of exclusive breastfeeding for a period of 6 months and continuing until the age of two years.”
She noted that the MOPH is organizing four awareness lectures on the importance of breastfeeding and the challenges related to it to raise community awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and complementary feeding for children, as part of the mother and child health forum held this month. More awareness-raising lectures on complementary feeding for six-month old babies will also be organized in September.
“Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life,” explains BFHI team lead at WWRC Dr. Amal Abu Bakr Arbab.
She stresses that breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests and are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers, she states.
Dr. Mai Al Qubaisi, Sr. Consultant, Director of NICU and BFHI Chairperson at WWRC, says that breastfeeding is the best start for both mother and baby. “Breastfeeding provides joyful moments of interaction and bonding between mother and baby that enriches their life together. Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies. It is all the food and drink that a baby needs in an adequate quantity and quality for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, survival and wellbeing of infants, children and their mothers, and that it is imperative to protect breastfeeding worldwide. “It is a shared responsibility to protect, promote and support breastfeeding to achieve sustainable development,” Dr. Al Qubaisi states.
The World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated annually from 1 to 7 August with the aim of encouraging women to breastfeed and improving the health of infants around the world. The ceremony commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policy makers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, encourage and support breastfeeding.