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Consultation on “Role of Civil Society in Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding in Pakistan”

DSC_1144cccBackground

Globally, breastfeeding has the potential to prevent about 800 000 deaths among children under five each year if all children 0–23 months were optimally breastfed. Early initiation of breastfeeding could prevent about one fifth of neonatal deaths, but less than half of infants are put to the breast within one hour of birth. WHO recommends that all infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, but actual practice is low (38%). Only about half of children aged 20–23 months are breastfed despite the recommendation that breastfeeding continue for up to 2 years or beyond.
Unfortunately, Pakistan has the highest bottle-feeding rates and lowest exclusive breastfeeding rates in South Asia. The percentage of exclusively breast-fed children has remained static, with just a microscopic increase evident over the last 7 years. According to the Demographic Health Survey, this percentage has risen only from 37.1 per cent in 2006-07 to 37.7 per cent in 2012-13. However, when it comes to the bottle-feeding race, Pakistan has no close competitors; bottle-feeding rates have risen from an already undesirable 32.1 per cent in 2006-07 to a shamefully high 41 per cent in 2012-13. On the other hand in Bangladesh, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for six months is 64% while in Nepal it is 70%. Bangladesh was able to increase the rates from 43% in 2007 to 64% in 2012 by commitment at all levels. This was also possible because of the active involvement of the civil society and media in the campaigns for the promotion and protection of breastfeeding.

The implementation and enforcement of the standards and recommendations contained in theInternational Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant Health Assembly Resolutions (the Code) are critical for ensuring an environment that supports proper infant and young child feeding and contributing to the attainment of Millennium Development Goal 4 (reduce child mortality by two thirds).

Pakistan was among the 118 countries who had voted in favor of adopting International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes during the World Health Assembly in May 1981. However the legislation came very late in Pakistan when “The Protection of Breast-Feeding and Child Nutrition Ordinance, 2002” (XCIIIOf 2002) was passed on 26th October 2002, and Pakistan became one of the 42 countries with legislation to adopt most of the articles of the Code. Currently, except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where legislation is in final stages, all provinces have adopted/passed provincial laws for protection and promotion breastfeeding. However, implementation of these laws is still dream.

Breastfeeding rate can be increased in Pakistan through implementation of the breastfeeding and marketing code, effective targeting of healthcare providers for improved breastfeeding counselling; revision of undergraduate curriculum with a greater emphasis on good infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices; creation of baby-friendly health facilities, formulation of behavior change strategies to promote the culture of breastfeeding; development of effective messages on IYCF; and counselling of women of all education levels.

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.This year, breastfeeding advocates in over 175 countries worldwide will be celebrating the WBW theme ‘BREASTFEEDING: A Winning Goal – for Life!’ highlighting that achieving the Millennium Development Goals (especially MDGs 4 and 5) requires more early, exclusive and continued breastfeeding.

In connection with WBW, The Network for Consumer Protection of Pakistan (TN) and Child Rights Movement (CRM) in collaboration with Save the Children will organize a consultation on August 07, 2014 to discuss the reasons of low breastfeeding rates and role of civil society organization for protection and promotion of breastfeeding in Pakistan.

Objectives:

Overall Objective:

The overall objective of consultation is to promote exclusive breastfeeding practices by understanding the reasons of static progress on exclusive breastfeeding and discussing the role of civil society organizations for protection and promotion of breastfeeding in Pakistan.

Specific Objectives:

Specific Objectives include:
– Discuss overall situation of breastfeeding and its links to neonatal mortality
– Identify barriers in achieving exclusive breastfeeding targets and discuss strategiesfor protection and promotion of breastfeeding
– Discuss the role of civil society organizations in protection and promotion of breastfeeding in Pakistan

Participants

– Representatives of Civil Society Organizations
– Members of Child Rights Movement (CRM)
– Media Representatives
– Development Partners for Nutrition

Date and Venue: August 07, 2014, Hotel Best Western, Islamabad

Program

09:30-10:00 Arrival of Participants/Registration All Participants
10:00- 10:15 World Breastfeeding Week theme for 2014 and its importance Mr. Nadeem Iqbal, Executive Director TN
10:15-10:30 Objectives of Consultation Mr. Safer Khan
10:30-10:45 Screening of Documentary on Breastfeeding
10:45-11:00 Tea Break
11:00-11:45 Situation of Breastfeeding in Pakistan; Reasons  for poor exclusive breastfeeding rates and recommendations Dr Qudsia Uzma

Director Health and Nutrition

Save the Children

11:45-12:10 Role of Civil Society in monitoring violations of breastfeeding code MsRubina Bhatti, Project Coordinator,  TN
12:10-12:40 Legislative Environment and Role of Civil Society in Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding Mr. Arshad Mahmood,

Director Advocacy and CRG

Save the Children

12:40-13:15 Open Discussion All Participants
13: 15-13:30 Conclusion and Way Forward TBC

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