Bhutan ob­serves World Breast­feed­ing Week with aware­ness pro­grammes

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Around 100 nurses with the 10 unit in­volved in breast­feed­ing pro­mo­tion were trained for three hours ev­ery day for four days last week to im­prove their knowl­edge on breast­feed­ing. It was part of the World Breast­feed­ing Week ob­served from 1-5 Au­gust.

The Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Na­tional Re­fer­ral Hos­pi­tal or­gan­ised var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties to ob­serve the week. Among oth­ers, moth­ers who vis­ited the hos­pi­tal were ed­u­cated on the im­por­tance of ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing dur­ing the first six months of a baby’s life.

Themed ‘Breast­feed­ing: a key to Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment”, the week high­lighted how to value one’s wellbe- ing from the start of life, and how to re­spect each other and care for the world.

At an aware­ness event in Thim­phu, the direc­tor of the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health, Dr Pandup Tsh­er­ing, said stunt­ing is still a health con­cern in the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Nutri­tion Sur­vey (NNS) 2015, about 21.2 per­cent of chil­dren be­low five years were stunted, nine per­cent were un­der­weight and 4.3 per­cent were wast­ing.

Dr Pandup Tsh­er­ing added that the health work­ers played a vi­tal role in ed­u­cat­ing moth­ers on breast­feed­ing be­cause of the amount of time they spend with moth­ers.

The moth­ers vis­it­ing the hos­pi­tal were ed­u­cated on the im­por­tance of nutri­tion for preg­nant and breast­feed­ing women, dis­ad­van­tages of mixed feed­ing, and com- ple­men­tary feed­ing af­ter the first six months.

The mid­wives at the hos­pi­tal con­ducted an aware­ness pro­gramme demon­strat­ing var­i­ous breast­feed­ing po­si­tions and ad­vised the moth­ers to visit the unit when­ever they face prob­lems re­lated to breast­feed­ing.

Satomi Ot­suka and To­momi Kera, two Ja­panese mid­wives vol­un­teer­ing with Ja­pan International Co­op­er­a­tion Agency, also ob­served the week at the hos­pi­tal.

In a mes­sage on the breast­feed­ing week, Health Min­is­ter Tandin Wangchuk said that the ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing lasts a life­time, ad­ding that breast­feed­ing helps chil­dren to sur­vive and thrive, en­abling in­fants to with­stand in­fec­tions, pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal nu­tri­ents for the early de­vel- op­ment of their brains and bod­ies, and strength­en­ing the bond be­tween moth­ers and their bod­ies.

Stud­ies re­veal that in­fants who are breast­fed for at least one year went on to stay in school longer, score higher on in­tel­li­gence tests, and earn more as adults than those who were breast­fed for only a month.

Recog­nis­ing the ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing, the gov­ern­ment of Bhutan places high pri­or­ity on breast­feed­ing, en­cour­ages pro­grammes that sup­port breast­feed­ing, and works with com­mu­ni­ties and fam­i­lies to pro­mote the full ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing.

Since March this year, the gov­ern­ment ex­tended ma­ter­nity leave to six months in ad­di­tion to flexi feed­ing time to en­able them to breast­feed their ba­bies ex­clu­sively. The UNICEF Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor An­thony Lake and WHO Direc­tor Gen­eral Mar­garet Chan is­sued a joint state­ment on the world breast­feed­ing week urg­ing coun­tries to sup­port the prac­tice for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment.

They said that it is in­creas­ingly clear that breast­feed­ing is not only the cor­ner­stone of a child’s healthy devel­op­ment, but also the foun­da­tion of a coun­try’s devel­op­ment.

The two chiefs of the UN agen­cies said breast­feed­ing must be “a pol­icy, pro­gram­ming, and pub­lic spend­ing pri­or­ity.”

“In fact, sup­port­ing breast­feed­ing is one of the smartest in­vest­ments coun­tries can make for the well­be­ing of their cit­i­zens - and thus, add to their own long-term strength,”

Bhutan has ob­served the week since 2006.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.