Breastfeeding can prevent one-third of neonatal deaths a year: Experts
Experts at a press briefing yesterday said initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth can prevent one-third of neonatal deaths in the country every year.
They also disclosed that around 240 under-five children die every day for not having breastfeeding properly.
To mark the Global Breastfeeding Week 2009 from August 1 to 7, Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation (BBF) in association with Save the Children organised the press briefing at the National Press Club in the city.
With the theme 'Breastfeeding a vital emergency response: Are you ready?', the week would be observed across the country and elsewhere in the world with an aim to make people, especially the mothers, aware that breastfeeding is a must for under-five children during disaster to avoid different diseases, including diarrhoea.
Stressing the need for breastfeeding, Dr Ganesh Chandra Sarker, director (IEM) of Directorate of Family Planning, said only breast milk contains alone around 2,000 ingredients which is a must to increase the body's resistance power of a child as well as to develop its brain and physical structure.
“But ignorantly, we do wrong practice to feed the children power milk instead of breastfeeding. As a result, hundreds of children die every year due to malnourishment,” he added.
Expressing grievance, BBF Adviser Prof MQK Talukder said proper breastfeeding helps reduce child mortality significantly, but no governments took any effective steps to introduce proper diet for children, especially in terms of breastfeeding.
He alleged that some unscrupulous milk traders and doctors for their self-interest encouraged the mothers to have their children powder milk.
Saying that there is no alternative to breastfeeding for children, Prof Talukder stressed the need to create massive awareness through different programmes to reduce child mortality rate.
Child specialist Sufiya Khatun, who is also the BBF trustee, said, “During disasters, some foreign countries donate powdered milk as relief for the children which should be stopped and instead, those country can send foodstuffs for mother which will help produce milk.
Dr Muhammad Mohsin Ali, nutrition specialist of Unicef, Dr Riad Ahmed of Save the Children, Prof Samina Chowdhury, vice chairman of BBF, and Dr SK Roy, chairperson, also spoke at the briefing.