Breastfeeding Week begins tomorrow
DHAKA, Aug 8, 2020 (BSS) – The World Breastfeeding Week -2020 will be observed across the country as elsewhere in the world from tomorrow to create awareness on health benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers.
This year’s theme of the week is “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet”.
In a message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today wished all successes of the week and hoped that the initiative would help build a healthy and intelligent nation.
In line with the theme, the World Health Organization and UNICEF have emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for mothers to participate in breastfeeding counseling, she added.
The Prime Minister said breast milk is the primary food ingredient for the normal physical and mental development of any newborn baby and an antidote for various ailments including pathogens.
It is important to develop the right habits of feeding the baby breast milk and home-made complementary foods, she added.
She emphasized maternal and paternal protection, training of health professionals and field workers, establishment of child-friendly hospitals, provision of counseling on breastfeeding as well as implementation and monitoring the International Breastfeeding Act, 1980 and regular World Health Conference decisions to create a supportive environment for breastfeeding.
The Prime Minister said, “In the last eleven years, we have implemented a comprehensive program to improve the health sector in line with our electoral commitment”.
In the period 1996-2001, we started community clinics. When the BNP came to power in 2001, it closed community clinics. As a result, ordinary people, especially mothers in remote areas, are deprived of healthcare, she said.
After the formation of the government by the people in 2008, we re-launched the community clinic with the aim of bringing maternal and child health services to the doorsteps of the people. So far, we have launched about 18,000 community clinics and union health centers where 30 types of medicines are being given for free, she added.
We have formulated the National Health Policy, 2011, at the end of the implementation of the Seventh Five-Year Plan, prioritizing the achievement of ‘universal healthcare’, said the premier.
“Our government is committed to increasing the rate of breastfeeding and sustainable maternal and child nutrition development activities. We have increased breastfeeding exclusively for babies up to 6 months from 43% in 2006 to 85% now,” she said.
“We have also enacted ‘Breastfeeding Alternative Baby Food, Commercially Prepared Baby Extra Feed and Consumption Equipment (Marketing Control) Act, 2013’ and its Rules-2016 to bring down the use of powdered milk and canned baby food to a minimum,” she further said.
We have increased maternity leave to 6 months with pay. Breastfeeding Corners are being set up in government and non-government organizations, she said.
According to the report of ‘World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTI) 2015’, Bangladesh is ranked 3rd out of 152 countries.
In order to improve the nutritional status of the people in the implementation of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s dream of Golden Bangladesh, we have to work together from different walks of life in the campaign activities on the benefits of breastfeeding and the disadvantages of powdered milk, she said.