Hawa committed to get more mothers to breastfeed

National 1 minute, 51 seconds

BELAIT

BRUNEI’S sole breastfeeding non-governmental organisation (NGO), Hawa, is planning to raise the profile of breastfeeding and attract more members this year through road shows at commercial centres and schools.

Chairperson of the Belait-based NGO told The Brunei Times recently that the organisation will host their second road show at Sentral Shopping Centre later this month, and for the first time, roll out dedicated talks on breastfeeding to Belait schools.

“Breastfeeding's profile has come a long way since the 1980s, but plenty remains to be done in engaging the workplace, the educational system as well as convincing mothers on a personal level that breastfeeding is the healthiest way for your baby – backed by scientific research,” said Hjh Masni Hj Munir.

The 50-member organisation is also due for an election after turning three years old last year, with its chairperson campaigning for the expansion of a more active membership base.

“Fifty is a good number, taking into account that we are a new organisation catering specifically for the Belait district. But we don’t just need more members, we need more who will be active contributors,” said Hjh Masni.

Currently, Hawa operates through a 13-member organising committee, which contains appointed focal points for the majority of the mukims in the Belait district who promote and provide updates on what the existing hurdles are in breastfeeding in their respective areas.

The group's other priority in 2016 will be continuing their efforts to help Suri Seri Begawan Hospital to become one of the first accredited “baby-friendly” hospitals in the country.

A key criteria is the operation of a resource room for parents to obtain advice, which SSBH launched towards the end of last year and tasked Hawa with operating.

“Once or twice a week patients and parents come in for counselling with nurses and pediatricians, with Hawa members present for moral and peer support,” said Hjh Masni, who added that the room needs to be used more frequently for breastfeeding education.

“For the future of breastfeeding, it is all about creating the right environment to enable breastfeeding to take place. It's important for a mother to know that she is supported, and not alone, in her choice to breastfeed,” said Hjh Masni.

The Brunei Times