Role of prayer leaders, media vital to promote breastfeeding in country, says President Alvi

ISLAMABAD-President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday underscored the role of prayer leaders and media to promote breastfeeding in Pakistan for healthier future generations by preventing the children from stunting and other communicable diseases.
Addressing an advocacy seminar on protection and promotion of breastfeeding here at Aiwan-e-Sadr, Dr. Alvi said that breastfeeding was the most cost-effective intervention for children’s healthier growth.
The president said that the role of prayer leaders, media and lady health workers was vital for greater dissemination of awareness messages as they had better access to society.
Starting with the recitation of Quranic verses stressing breastfeeding for 24 to 30 months, the seminar also featured a video documentary to highlight the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for at least initial six months and dispelling misconceptions about it.
The President said that in Pakistan, almost 50 per cent of the children were not breastfed by the mothers which was quite unfortunate particularly for a Muslim country like Pakistan as both Quran and scientific research strongly advocated for mother’s milk with no substitute of it.
Clarifying a misconception about the yellowish colostrum (first form of milk produced immediately after delivery of the new-born), the President said that instead of wasting, it must be fed to new-born for it being full of antibodies and nutrients.
He said that from the very first day of assuming the office, Prime Minister Imran Khan took up the issue of malnutrition and stunted growth which could be effectively prevented through two-year breastfeeding.
Dr Alvi told the audience that better human development was inevitable for poverty alleviation and economic development.
He called for displaying posters with relevant comprehensive messages in mosques for public awareness.
The president said that even the formula milk producing companies should clearly tell the consumers that it was in no way a substitute to breastfeeding.
He remarked that the breastfed children receive better protection against pneumonia and sudden infant death syndrome besides having better IQ level.
He advised the mothers to breastfeed their children exclusively for six months without even serving water to the new-born babies and continue breastfeeding for two years. First Lady Samina Arif Alvi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health, Dr Faisal Sultan, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, Dr Sania Nishtar, Parliamentary Secretary on Health, Dr Nosheen Hamid, Country Representative of UNICEF Aida Girma-Melaku attended the event besides parliamentarians and women from different walks of life.

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