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Only 37.7 per cent Pakistani mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding: WHO-UNICEF report.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan stands at 18 per cent for early initiation of breastfeeding and only 37.7 per cent mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding for six months, a newly released joint WHO-UNICEF report revealed here Thursday.

The report stated that no country in the world fully meets the recommended breastfeeding standards and that only 23 countries, out of 194 nations, have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent.

It said promotion of breastfeeding could save the lives of 820,000 children under the age of five, globally, by achieving enhanced rates of breastfed children,

Statistics suggested that 44 per cent of Pakistani children are stunted with lower height for age, having poor cognition and other development milestones. Compliance to early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and complimentary breast feeding for two years could significantly reduce stunting in Pakistan, it said.

Moreover, evidence shows that breastfeeding has cognitive and health benefits for both infants and their mothers. Children who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life are 14 times more likely to survive than non-breastfed children.

It also helps prevent diarrhoea and pneumonia which are major causes of death in infants. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer, two leading causes of death among women.

'Breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life,' said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO. 'Breastmilk works like a baby's first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and

thrive.'

Global Breastfeeding Collective is making efforts to enable more mothers to breastfeed through enforcing the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes so that breast-milk substitute companies cannot mislead women, strengthening policy provisions that support family leave and encourage more working mothers to breastfeed their babies at family place.

The objectives also included increasing access and quality to skilled

breastfeeding counselling in the health system, fostering community networks

that support women in breastfeeding and implementation of ten steps of

successful breastfeeding in maternity facilities, including providing breastmilk for sick and vulnerable newborns.

The report said breastfeeding is not a single woman's job. Mothers need assistance and support from their health care providers, families, employers, communities and governments and together, we can support women to breastfeed and protect the health and well-being of future generations.

It added breastfeeding is pivotal for the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals. It improves nutrition (SDG2), prevents child mortality and decreases the risk of non-communicable diseases (SDG3), and supports cognitive development and education (SDG4).

Breastfeeding is also an enabler to ending poverty, promoting economic growth and reducing inequalities.

It said that breast milk is the God given gift to all mothers that they

should not deprive their own children of this gift and continue breastfeeding for two years. Breastfeeding can save hundreds of thousands of children by safeguarding them against several diseases.

It said WHO along with all other relevant UN agencies and partners will continue providing technical support to the Government of Pakistan to ensure that all Rural Health Centers (RHCs) and hospitals, whether public or private, are converted into baby friendly health facilities across the country by 2030.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Aug 4, 2017
Words:600
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