21 September 2018, Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) – Today, at the ceremony held at Pot & Pan restaurant, the World Breastfeeding Week at the national level was officially launched by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Seri Dr.Wan Azizah Dr.Wan Ismail. The event was attended by YB Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, the Health Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, YBhg. Datuk Dr Noor Hisham bin Abdullah, VIPs and breastfeeding advocates from the states of Malaysia.
This year’s theme, Breastfeeding Foundation of Life is selected as a commitment manifestation by the Health Ministry to promote, to protect and to support breastfeeding in Malaysia.
The importance of breastfeeding is seen as capable to reduce malnutrition problem, food security and poverty which is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This theme is relevant in Malaysia’s scenario whereby malnutrition is still happening even with the overall increase in the improvement of children and baby’s food status.
On the Ministry’ front, strategies has been deployed with activities to improve the quality of food for children and babies. Among the strategies are the Baby Friendly Initiatives Hospital, Baby Partner Clinic, the enforcement of baby’s food products ethical marketing, health education, training for health personnel, and disseminating information through the mass media and the social media.
Till today, there’s 155 hospitals that has been recognized as Baby Friendly Hospital. It is hoped that the same initiatives will be further enlarged to the private hospitals where participants are only at 10.9% at the moment. The key to the success of this program is by having a continuous support system especially within the residential area and the community itself. Thus, as early as possible, mothers or to be parents must get the basic knowledge and the techniques of breastfeeding through reading, talk sessions, sharing sessions and through observation and training sessions.
Emotional support from husbands, family members, colleagues and co-workers are equally important as the moral and physical support to help the mothers to breastfeed successfully. One of the important areas that can be further improved is the access for mothers and baby’s to a friendlier environment for breastfeeding. It is also hoped that a more supportive policy will be implemented to support optimal baby and children food practice.
May our love and care for our children, will protect them and become a symbol of love to the country, Malaysia.