Islamabad - The Country Representative of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Angela Kearny, has said that 44 per cent children in Pakistan face stunted growth due to the use of powdered milk.

She said this is becoming a burden on the social and health care system of the country. She said the International Marketing Court prohibits the advertising of powdered milk for children below two years of age, Radio Pakistan reported on Saturday.

Angela Kearny said they are taking actions against the multi-national companies advertising the breast milk substitute in Pakistan. She underscored the need for encouraging women to breast feed their children as it is 100 per cent safe and cost effective having all necessary nutritious contents.

She said the UNICEF is supporting Pakistan’s efforts to promote breastfeeding to children up to early six months of their age. She said the government, social welfare and media organisations and other relevant stakeholders are making significant efforts in this connection.

However, she pointed out that due to a rising trend of using powdered milk substitute of mother’s milk recommended by some doctors, nurses or midwives, women tend to give bottled milk to infants.

The Country Director highlighted the major health issues faced by children in later years of their age who are not breastfed. She said these children have fifteen times higher risks to die of pneumonia and eleven times higher risks of death by diarrhoea.

Angela Kearney underscored the need for collective efforts on the part of all stakeholders and the religious scholars can play a very important role in convincing the people on the issue.