Nasim urges all to promote breastfeeding to address malnutrition

DHAKA, April 9, 2017 (BSS) - Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim today urged all, including professionals, to supplement the efforts of government to combat malnutrition through promoting breastfeeding.

"There is no alternative to promoting breastfeeding to improve nutritional status of children. We are setting up breastfeeding corners in different public places to promote breastfeeding practices in the country," he told a discussion in a city hotel.

Proriprekkhit, a non-government organization, organized the discussion on "Child Health and Nutrition".

Former Health Advisor to the Prime Minister Dr Syed Modasser Ali, Directorate General of Directorate General of Health Service Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University(BSMMU) Prof Md Sharfuddin Ahmed, Director of Institute of Public Health and Nutrition Mozharul Islam Mamun, Chairperson of Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation Prof Dr SK Roy and principal dietician of Apollo Hospitals, among others, addressed the discussion.

Director of Dhaka Shishu Hospital Prof Dr Manzoor Hussain presented the keynote paper at the discussion.

Nasim said, "Progress in the health sector of Bangladesh has been lauded internally. We have reduced child and maternal mortality rate and we made the country free from polio."

"Despite having our resources constraint, the country has achieved a remarkable success in many key areas of health including EPI(Expanded Programme on Immunization), improving nutritional status of under-five children," he added.

The minister called upon all people including healthcare professional to launch awareness campaign to education people about heath issues for improving nutritional status of both mothers and children.

"We want to stop feeding of powder milk to our children to ensure healthy growth of children. If necessary, we will formulate laws to stop consuming power milk as it is good for child health," he added.

There has been an impressive decline in the rates of stunting and underweight among under five children in the country, Dr Manzoor said adding, rates of stunting and underweight reduced by 15 percent and 10 percent over the last decade, respectively.

"Yet more than one-third of children are still stunned and underweight. Wasting is almost static at 14-17 percent. Given the current pace of improvement, the SDG(Sustainable Development Goal)-2 targets for nutrition are unlikely to be met by Bangladesh by 2030," he added.

Other speakers said different factors, including early marriage, inadequate diets for pregnant mothers, high population density and higher rate of preterm babies, are associated with the burden of childhood undernutrition.

Key nutrition-specific interventions including exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding, micronutrient supplementation and taking adequate measures for pregnant mothers should be scaled up for improving nutritional status of children, they added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)