Punjab P&D and UNICEF Pakistan Jointly Organized a Ceremony of Provincial Celebration of Global Breastfeeding Week 2019 at Lahore

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Planning and Development Board, Government of the Punjab, in collaboration with UNICEF Pakistan hosted the Provincial Celebration of Global Breastfeeding Week 2019.

The World Breastfeeding Week is observed every year from the 1st till the 7th of August in over 120 countries by governments and development partners.  The theme of this year’s Global Breastfeeding Week 2019 is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”. The theme focuses on supporting both parents to be empowered in order to achieve breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding can be improved when fathers, partners, families, workplaces, and communities support the mothers to breastfeed her baby.

The event included participation of all key stakeholders, amongst them were esteemed representatives including Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Minister for Health GoPb, Ashifa Riaz Fatyana, Minister for Women Development, GoPb, Pir Syed ul Hasan, Minister for Auqaf and Religious Affairs GoPb, Col (R) Sardar Hashim Dogar Minister of Population Welfare GoPb, Habib-ur-Rahman Gilani, Chairman P&D Board GoPb, Dr. Sohail Saqlain, Member Health Nutrition and Population, P&D Board, Tajudeen Oyewala Deputy Country Representative UNICEF Pakistan, Dr. Rubina Sohail, Prof. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Services Hospital Lahore, Saleem Masih, Project Director MSNC and Dr. Shafiq ur Rehman Nutrition Specialist UNICEF.

Addressing the occasion, Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Minister for Health, Government of the Punjab , said, “Malnutrition and promotion of breastfeeding remains a top priority agenda of the current Government of the Punjab. The relevant ministries and departments ever since they came to office have been endlessly engaged in efforts to address the issue of malnutrition. I believe, it is essential to cascade high level commitments into effective policies, strategies and plans that benefit the masses.”

Pir Syed-ul-Hassan, Minister for Auqaf & Religious Affair, Government of the Punjab stated that;“Breastfeeding is a physical and psychological process that has far-reaching effect on a child’s physical, emotional and social growth. The Islamic Sharee‘ah cherishes breastfeeding and stresses its importance and role in protecting children.

Ashifa Riaz Fatyana, Minister for Women Development, Government of Punjab stated that; “Multifactorial determinants of breastfeeding require supportive measures at various levels in various departments. Breastfeeding is not the sole responsibility of the mother, it is a collective responsibility of the family, society and government to provide opportunities environment to breastfeeding mothers.”

Habib-ur-Rahman Gilani, Chairman, Planning and Development Board, GoPb said, “In Punjab health sector indicators, especially related to mother and children have registered major improvements over the past few years. The improvements in health indicators are direct results of the investments made by Government of the Punjab. The National Nutrition Survey of 2018 reveals that in Punjab, the early initiation of breastfeeding has increased to 43.7% in 2018 from 28.1% in 2011, an increase of 55%. Exclusive breastfeeding rates have jumped to 44.2% from 7.7% in 2011 registering a drastic increase of more than 4 times”.

Dr. Sohail Saqlain, Member HNP, Planning and Development Board said, "Sustainable development goals will specifically address the need to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030. It can only be achieved if no child, woman or man is left behind – regardless of how difficult and challenging the circumstances". He said, there is a dire need to aware individuals, families, communities, healthcare givers, policy makers and general public on the importance of breastfeeding.

The celebration marks a global, national and provincial commitment to encourage, promote and support breastfeeding.