[size=52]The Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and UNICEF conclude the activities of the World Breastfeeding Week in Iraq[/size]
Under the slogan: “Breastfeeding Advocacy: Educate and Support,” the Breastfeeding Week included mass communication and awareness activities across the country.
[size=45]Baghdad, Iraq, 8 August 2022 - The Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and UNICEF today concluded World Breastfeeding Week. On the importance of breastfeeding.[/size]
[size=45]This year's theme is: "Breastfeeding Advocacy: Educate and Support". Officials have encouraged education and changes in existing systems to ensure there are health care institutions that encourage breastfeeding, and supportive communities and workplaces.[/size]
[size=45]The Iraq Breastfeeding Week included communication and awareness activities in shopping malls, hospitals and health institutions, and through collective platforms and social media. A survey was also conducted for young women and men to learn about their information on the importance of breastfeeding.[/size]
[size=45]In this regard, the Minister of Health, Hani Al-Aqabi, said: “The Ministry of Health continues to prioritize the protection and promotion of breastfeeding to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”[/size]
[size=45]Although 9 out of 10 children in Iraq have been breast-fed at some stage of their lives, only 25.8% [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] of children have been exclusively breastfed during the first six months of their life [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] . This percentage is much lower than the average in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, which is 33%. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.][/size]
[size=45]“Breastfeeding gives children the best start in their lives,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative in Iraq, Ms. Paola Bolanchi. It is the best source of nutrition for the child, as it helps in the development of the brain along with the benefits for the mother and the child together. UNICEF renews its commitment to support the Ministry of Health and stakeholders to restore breastfeeding support systems to the levels they were before the pandemic and to enhance the capabilities of these systems to achieve global nutritional goals.”[/size]
[size=45]Early adoption of breastfeeding, in the first hour of birth, continued dependence on it exclusively in the first five months of the child’s life, and continuing to practice it until 23 months of the child’s age gives him strong defensive immunity against infection and malnutrition.[/size]
[size=45]In contrast, children who are completely or partially deprived of breastfeeding face a higher risk of diarrhea and may die from acute malnutrition if not treated quickly.[/size]
[size=45]As the representative of the World Health Organization in Iraq, Dr. Ahmed Zouiten: “Breastfeeding is the best gift that a mother can give her child, as it gives him a confident start in life, the food necessary for healthy growth and the necessary protection from diseases. It works to strengthen the relationship between the child and the mother and ensures his balanced physical and psychological development. Mother’s milk is a miracle that no child should be deprived of.”
In order to maintain the progress made in promoting and supporting breastfeeding in Iraq, UNICEF and WHO are calling on the Iraqi government, civil society, donors and the private sector to support the following:[/size]
- Prioritize investment in breastfeeding support programs - as part of a minimal package of health and nutrition interventions.
- Building the capacities of health workers to be able to provide quality advisory and practical support to mothers for the proper practice of breastfeeding
- Protect caregivers and health workers from the unethical influence of marketing packaged infant formula products by strict application of the Global Marketing Code of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant legislation.
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