Pakistan is lagging behind in exclusive breastfeeding when compared to its neighbours, said Dr Tabish Hazir, a senior paediatrician, at a seminar.
The seminar on Saturday was organised to mark the Global Breastfeeding Week 2011 at a local hotel and organised by a joint venture of the Nutrition Wing, National Institute of Health, partner NGOs, World Health Organization and The United Nations Children’s Fund.
Global Breastfeeding Week is commemorated every year from August 1-7 and aims to create awareness about the importance of breastfeeding for infant and young children.
Dr Hazir expressed his concern over the doctors and care providers who are unaware of the basics of optimal breastfeeding. He said, “Breastfeeding practices should be encouraged in the country to make our future generation healthy.”
Program Manager Nutrition Wing NIH Dr Baseer Achakzai said, “Evaluations of indicators suggest that Pakistan is lagging behind in several key nutrition and health indicators. Thus it will be impossible to achieve the health Millennium Development Goals targets without addressing malnutrition and hunger.” He said poor infant feeding practices play a major role in high child and infant mortality in Pakistan.
Pakistan Demographic Health Survey states only 23% people in Pakistan practice exclusive breastfeeding up to the age of six months, he said. The data shows that Pakistan is still following one of the lowest exclusive breastfeeding practices in the world. The four basic elements of infant and young children feeding include strengthening health systems, legislation/policy, community and improving the knowledge and skills of health workers, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31th, 2011.