LAHORE  -    Public sector and private institutions are arranging special events in connection with World Breastfeeding Week.

The week is celebrated every year from August 1 to 7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of children.

It commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, Unicef and other organisations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

Addressing a ceremony as chief guest, Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid said the government would set up daycare centres and breastfeeding corners for working women.

Minister Auqaf Pir Saeedul Hassan, Aashifa Riaz, Dr Sohail Saqlain, DG Health Services Dr Haroon Jahangir, Vice Chancellor King Edward Medical University Prof Khalid Masood Gondal, Principal Services Institute of Medical Sciences Prof Mehmood Ayaz and Dr Sohail Saqlain also addressed the function.

Dr Yasmin Rashid said that breastfeeding saves both mother and child from several complications. She stressed the need for launching massive awareness campaign for promoting breastfeeding as it was important for proper growth of newborn.

Saeed-ul-Hassan said that breastfeeding help improving immunity.

Aashfa Riaz said that plan of setting up dedicated mother and child hospitals was a good initiative.

Addressing the participants of a workshop arranged by Pediatric Department of Lahore General Hospital, Principal Post Graduate Medical Institute & Ameerud Din Medical College Prof Sardar Alfareed Zafar stressed the need of taking effective measures for promoting breastfeeding. “Breast feeding corners should be established to facilitate working women. Mother’s milk provides kids shields against a number of diseases. No vaccine is alternative of breastfeeding”, he said. Members Board of Management Shehzad Aalm and Prof Agha Shabbir Ali also addressed the workshop.

Prof Sardar Alfareed Zafar said that latest scientific research has also supported teachings of Islam regarding the mother’s milk. He said that breastfeeding was good for health of babies. “Everybody should play due role in creating awareness about benefits of breastfeeding both for the babies and mothers. Breastfeeding help the infants to grow their brain, eyes, blood vessels and bones as per natural requirement. Ingredients in mother’s milk also help improving immunity and controlling infection. It is high time to convince mothers and families to avoid infant formula or cow milk for their babies”, he said.

Prof Agha Shabbir Ali said that the department would continue awareness campaign in the suburbs of Lahore with the support of Pakistan Pediatric Association.