Hawa eyes HPC for awareness drive

National 1 minute, 54 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI’S sole breastfeeding non-governmental organisation (NGO), Hawa, is keen to work with the Health Promotion Centre (HPC) in raising more awareness on breast-feeding.

Hjh Masni Hj Munir, chairperson of the local breastfeeding advocate, said during a recent visit to the HPC that they would like to collaborate with it to produce updated educational materials and posters on breastfeeding that can aid young mothers and mothers-to-be.

“We’re thinking of discussing some ideas with the HPC. If they accept us, we’d like to include some of the activities we do in Brunei (on posters that would be displayed at the HPC) and at the same time focus on what breastfeeding is all about and how it (benefits both mothers and children),” she told The Brunei Times.

Hjh Masni said while there has been an increase in awareness on breastfeeding in Brunei, a lot more can be done to further support exclusive breastfeeding among mothers in the sultanate, especially working mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding is defined as giving no other food or drink – not even water – except breast milk.

According to the World Health Organization, infants should be exclusively breastfed and should only receive breast milk in their first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health.

As part of Hawa’s initiatives to raise awareness on breastfeeding, they recently reached out to some rural areas in Belait District including Mukim Labi and Kg Sg Teraban where they brought in health professionals to offer advice while also seeking to learn about the issues faced by mothers there.

“We want to focus on Belait first because this is where Hawa was formed. But having said that, as time goes by, we’d like to extend our awareness programme outside the district.”

Hjh Masni said while there is an increase in the trend of breastfeeding in Brunei, many factors still lead women to stop.

“During these visits, we’re able to get (firsthand) information about their challenges,” she said, noting that some of the obstacles that breastfeeding mothers usually face are long commutes from home to their workplace and having no access to comfortable and accessible breastfeeding facilities.

“Hopefully with our initiative, we will be able to empower mothers and mothers-to-be on breastfeeding and its benefits.”

The Brunei Times