Eminent professor of pediatrics Dr. D.S. Akram has said that the Sub-continent lies in the “Red” as far as infant mortality rate is concerned and it lags behind even some African countries.
Prof Akram made this observation while speaking at a workshop for the media people on Friday.
She said that the reason for high infant mortality rate was “inappropriate feeding” and “food insecurity”, adding, meeting the Millennium Development Goal was a big target for Pakistan.
Prof Akram said there were 14 times more deaths in mothers who refrain from breastfeeding and added that Sindh happens to be “risk factor”.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Dure Shehwar Khan said that Pakistani society happens to be a breastfeeding society except for few people but it was not being done properly.
“Mother’s milk is organic and nature should not be changed,” she said, adding, “Nobody has ever been quoted as saying that breastfeeding has any injurious effect.”
She said: “The deficiency in the first two years of life is irreversible and for fist six months breast milk is total diet. The baby even does not need water because mother’s milk contains sufficient water.”
She cautioned against cow milk allergies, saying that cows were being fed on garbage in many areas of the country.
She said that breast milk provides superior nutrition for optimum growth, as it also provides adequate quantity of water against dehydration and protects the child from infection and allergies as well as promoting bonding and development.
“Mother’s milk contains 87 per cent water and 13 per cent nutrients and it’s the right of the child to be breastfed,” Dr Khan said, adding that it also helps delay a new pregnancy.
According to her, breastfeeding leads to emotional bonding, as it has psychological effects and ensures close, loving relationship between the child and the mother.
For human brain development lactose is very important. Lactose is glucose in mother’s milk.
Protein bounds high-body tissue that is very important for a baby and its fat also helps in brain development.
First three days milk of a mother is more important since it is very rich in anti-bodies.
Mother’s milk is a good source of Vitamin A, as it prevents diarrhea and is self-curing.
The participants were told that breastfeeding policy should include 10 steps to successful breastfeeding. These include an institutional ban on the acceptance of free or low cost supplies of breast-milk substitutes, bottles, and teats and its distribution to mothers. A framework for assisting HIV positive mothers to make informed infant feeding decisions that meet their individual circumstances and then support for this decision.
Imparting training to all health-care staff is necessary to implement this policy. It should be written in the most common languages understood by the patients and staff and available to all staff caring for mothers and babies. It should be posted or displayed in areas where mothers and babies are cared for.
All pregnant women should be informed about the benefits of breastfeeding as well as helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.