More effort needed to boost exclusive breastfeeding

National 3 minutes, 33 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

HER Royal Highness Princess Hjh Masna yesterday called on workplaces to provide breastfeeding facilities.

Delivering a sabda at the opening of the 10th One Asia Breastfeeding Partners Forum, HRH said a conducive breastfeeding environment should be provided at workplaces to encourage the practice.

HRH said more efforts are nee-ded to improve the rate of exclu-sive breastfeeding. In Brunei, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding has increased from less than 15 per cent two decades ago to the most recent figure of 26 per cent.

The princess said she was pleased the Ministry of Health had taken the lead to set up an accessible, conducive and well-equipped room for breastfeeding at the ministry.

“I am also encouraged to hear that several commercial establishments too are supporting this initiative by providing similar facilities in their premises. I sincerely hope that more agencies and institutions will emulate this move.”

HRH said more concerted efforts and close cooperation among all stakeholders are needed to eliminate the preventable deaths of infants and young children.

“Mothers need to receive good nutrition so their babies will thrive during gestation and after birth,” HRH said, adding that it is imperative that maternal and infant nutrition are addressed as an integral part of global and national health policies.

She said evidence has proven that breastfeeding can save the lives of millions of infants and young children worldwide, help them avoid common infectious diseases and prevent the development of non-communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes in their adulthood.

“We must therefore, fully support all initiatives towards exclu-sive breastfeeding and optimal complementary feeding, including enhancing awareness of families and carers, in the benefits that contribute to better health and well-being for the mothers, their newborn and young children,” HRH added.

The princess noted that Brunei has adopted the recommendation from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes to protect and promote breastfeeding.

“It is truly reassuring to learn that some countries have, in fact, enacted legislation implementing many of the provisions under this international code,” HRH said.

She said the Ministry of Health is committed towards implementing this international code, which will put in place a comprehensive policy framework in ensuring the protection of safe maternal, infant and young child nutrition in the country.

HRH also stressed the need to be aware of marketing influences that can undermine appropriate infant and young child feeding, particularly breastfeeding.

The marketing influences include those that are channelled through the mass media.

The princess also highlighted the important role of community and family institutions in support-ing breastfeeding initiatives. Community health programmes and participation are crucial for any national health policy, she said.

HRH acknowledged the work of healthcare workers and volunteers from Universiti Brunei Darussa-lam’s Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashi-dah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences and the civil society.

She said the joint partnership to enhance the knowledge and skills of people, to encourage commu-nities to embrace breastfeeding, is commendable and should be further strengthened with more inno-vative approaches.

She went on to say that even though Brunei has fulfilled the targets of the Millenium Development Goals in health, the Brunei government continues to be committed to the further improvement of maternal and child health and nutrition.

During the event, HRH also officially launched two books titled The National Strategy of Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition for 2014-2020, which maps the way forward, and Brunei Darussalam: Journey Towards Comprehensive Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition to highlight the progress.

The national strategy roadmap will require the support and active involvement of the government, non-government sectors and community to ensure its successful implementation, HRH said.

“It is my deepest wish that through this strategy, our nation will become better informed and equipped to support our journey towards comprehensive maternal, infant and young child nutrition,” she added.

She said research, the sourcing of evidence and the exploration of innovations must continue to complement the national strategy.

“It is extremely important to generate evidence from research to address the gap, to refine the existing knowledge, and to realign the health programmes to further improve the Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition landscape, not only in Brunei Darussalam but also in the global context,” she added.

The Brunei Times