Pakistan one of the first countries to introduce BFH initiative

Pakistan one of the first countries to introduce BFH initiative

KARACHI: Pakistan currently celebrating World Breast Feeding Week is one of the first countries to introduce Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) some 20 years ago prohibiting availability and sale of infant formulae (powdered milk) and feeding bottles at many of the maternity centers and hospitals across the country.

Experts talking to APP said motive was to promote the culture of maternal lactation, discourage hazardous practice of top feeding and contain high incidence of infant mortality and morbidity in the country.

Mother's milk is scientifically proven to be natural anti-infectant, besides providing inherent protection to both babies and their mothers against series of health conditions and ailments, including diabetes, cancers etc.

Senior pediatrician Prof Dr Fehmina Arif acknowledged that despite a robust beginning the country was still to go a long way in ensuring quality life for new born babies and infants.

"We perhaps have failed to motivate people in general and parents in particular about the relevance of exclusive breast feeding for babies during first six months of their lives," she said.

Dr. Fehmina Arif said the practice could not only significantly reduce the high incidence of diarrhoea, the major killer of local babies, but also caste positive impact on the maternal health.

Prof Dr Noor Jehan Samad, one of the seasoned professionals (gynaecologists) to spearhead the campaign in 1990s, said breast-feeding equally served as a safe and natural mode of contraception to the women in child bearing age.

"Birth spacing is crucially needed as a barrier against maternal mortality and morbidity," said the senior gynecologist.

Prof Dr Ayesha Mehnaz, pediatrician and activist working for protection of children against abuse, said political will and public support were needed for the crucial cause of physically and emotionally healthy people across the country.