MOPH and its partners celebrate World Breastfeeding Week

Human Services

The Ministry of Public Health, in cooperation with Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation and Sidra Medicine, will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, from 1-7 August, under the slogan (STEP UP FOR BREASTFEEDING – EDUCATE AND SUPPORT).

The celebration comes within the framework of the Ministry of Public Health’s efforts to implement “Healthy Children and Adolescents” plans to increase breastfeeding rates.

The celebration aims to educate community members about the importance of their support for breastfeeding, encourage mothers to make the decision to breastfeed as a smart choice for the health of the child, and focus on the importance of introducing complementary foods at the age of 6 months while continuing breastfeeding, in addition to focus on the side effects of formula milk.

On this occasion, the Ministry of Public Health and its partners are launching an awareness campaign during the month of August to promote breastfeeding in cooperation with all hospitals in the State of Qatar. The campaign includes broadcasting videos on complementary feeding for 6 months babies, in addition to supporting breastfeeding on visual media and social media platforms, distributing educational materials to mothers’ rooms after delivery in all hospitals, as well as nursing mothers in healthy baby clinics in health centers at the Primary Health Care Corporation, obstetrics departments, outpatient clinics, neonatal intensive care units at the Women’s Health and Research Center, and hospitals Al-Wakra, Al-Kobi and Al-Khor.

Marking the World Breastfeeding Week, the Ministry of Public Health, in cooperation with Sidra Medicine, is organizing two discussion sessions on misconceptions about breastfeeding and newborn health, during the Maternal & Child Health Forum on August 2 and 3, during which questions will be received and participants’ inquiries will be answered by Sidra Medicine specialists. Additionally, there will be a live streaming on social media for a breastfeeding specialist from the Primary Health Care Corporation.

Dr. Salah Al-Yafei, Acting Manager of Health Promotion and Non-communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Public Health said: “The Ministry, in cooperation with its partners in the health sector, continues to work towards enhancing society’s awareness of the importance of breastfeeding, as breastmilk is one of the most important sources of energy, nutrients and immunity enhancement for children. It is recommended to start breastfeeding the child during the first hours of birth to help the newborn to build his/ her immune system”.

Dr. Salah Al Yafei added: “The pertinent international organizations also recommend the adoption of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life, followed by continuous breastfeeding with appropriate complementary food until the child reaches two years or more, as a strong line of defense against all forms of childhood malnutrition, including weight loss, obesity and many infectious diseases, as well as strengthening the relationship between mother and child.

Dr. Sadria Al-Kuhji, Senior Health Officer for Healthy Children and Adolescents at the Ministry of Public Health’s National Health Strategy and Assistant Medical Director for Child and Adolescent Health at the Primary Health Care Corporation , said: The Ministry of Public Health through the National Health Strategy is working to achieve the national goal of increasing the level of exclusive breastfeeding over the first six months of the infant’s life, where breastfeeding is the first vaccine for children and helps protect them from many common childhood diseases.

Dr. Sadria Al-Kuhji added: Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week contributes to promoting the concept of breastfeeding among members of the community by sharing family personal experiences and breastfeeding strategies with new mothers, thereby enhancing the positive impact on infant’s feeding options.

“The health sector in Qatar is contributing significantly to the development of the breastfeeding initiative at various levels and making great efforts to provide the best levels of care service, such as Baby-friendly hospitals or the Community Health Program,” said Hila Sweid Salem, Executive Director of Nursing at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Center for Women’s Health and Research.

“The health sector promotes continuous support, education and counselling for mothers and families in breastfeeding through a successful natural breastfeeding experience by delivering customized messages via media outlets.

Ms. Fetna Saeed al-Nuaimi, National Coordinator of the Baby-Friendly Hospitals Initiative at the Ministry of Public Health, said breastfeeding is one of the key factors for enhancing the ability of newborns to improve their health, as breastfeeding promotes children’s health and body growth and has a significant impact on maternal health.

World Breastfeeding Week is held annually from August 1st to 7th to encourage women to breastfeed and improve infant health around the world. The celebration commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policy makers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations, to protect, encourage, and support breastfeeding.

Source: Ministry of Public Health