Peshawar: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister for Health, Shahram Khan Tarakai has revealed that draft bill of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Protection of Breast Feeding and Child Nutrition has been prepared and duly vetted by the law department which will soon be presented to the provincial cabinet for approval and consequently tabled in the provincial assembly for legislation.
He was addressing as chief guest an advocacy seminar on “Saving Newborn Lives by Early Initiation of Breastfeeding” in Peshawar on Monday. The seminar was jointly arranged by Health, Education and Literacy Program (HELP) and Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF).
Provincial minster said that the legislation would help a lot ensure the fundamental right of breast feeding to the newborns, and thus a healthy future of our new generation would be ensured. “Better healthcare of mothers and newborns is of prime importance for us and our government will take all the required measures to ensure the same”, he maintained.
Addressing the seminar, experts of the field highlighted medical, religious and other aspects of breast feeding for the better health of newborns and to immune them against various diseases. It was told that 10-15% of children up to five years could be prevented by 90% coverage with breast feeding alone while 22% of neonatal deaths can be prevented by starting breastfeeding in the first hour of life.
Sharing statistics about breast feeding in Pakistan with the participants, the speakers told that only 27% of women in Pakistan initiate breast feeding in the first hour of life whereas 37% practice exclusive breast feeding and the figures are one of the lowest in South East Asia. It was pointed out that women not breast feeding have more frequent pregnancies and thereby more porn to illness, malnutrition and death.
In the seminar the provincial government was urged to make legislation for the protection of breast feeding and child nutrition so that the practice of breast feeding could be encouraged and all substitutes to breast feeding could be discouraged to ensure the health of both the mothers and the newborns.
Shahram Khan emphasized the need of creating more and more awareness amongst the people and urged upon the doctors, Ulemas and media to play their vital role in encouraging breast feeding and discouraging bottle feeding. Besides Special Assistant to Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Social Welfare, Dr. Meher Taj Roghani the participants of the seminar were addressed by Dr. Shabina Riaz, Dr. Durre Samin Akram, Dr. Tufail and other speakers.