Muscat – The Ministry of Health (MoH), represented by the Department of Nutrition of the General Directorate of Primary Health Care, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), organized Thursday at Avani Hotel Muscat a conference on breastfeeding for the health of the child and the mother. .
The opening ceremony was attended by Dr Saeed al Lamki, Director General of Primary Health Care, Dr Alaa Hashish, Public Health Specialist at the WHO office in Oman, senior officials from the Ministry and several maternal and child health care providers, including doctors, nurses and nutritionists.
In a welcome note, Dr Salima al Mamary, Director of Nutrition, said the rate of exclusive breastfeeding of children in Oman is only 23%, therefore priority has been given to identification of the reasons for this low rate, drawing on various methods, including research studies, focus groups and field visits to the governorates.
“As exclusive breastfeeding rates are low, a national campaign for exclusive breastfeeding is needed. A campaign has therefore been launched to correct misconceptions related to breastfeeding as well as to acknowledge the perceptions in all religions and cultures on the importance of breastfeeding for the child, which is confirmed by studies like being the ideal and safe food to help prevent many common childhood illnesses,” said Dr. Salima.
She explained that the ministry, in collaboration with the Al Jisr Foundation, had carried out a year-long national campaign for exclusive breastfeeding under the slogan “The best for the child and for us” which ended on Thursday. .
Regarding the events and efforts made during the campaign, Dr. Salima pointed out that a measurement of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors was carried out before and after the campaign to assess any improvements, noting that all parties involved have demonstrated innovative participations to create the necessary impact.
Dr Hashish said increasing the breastfeeding rate by at least 50% by 2025 is one of the global goals the WHO seeks to achieve for children under six months.
WHO actively supports exclusive breastfeeding programs through integrated programs of work at local and global levels, the most important of which are the country cooperation strategy 2021-2025 and the country support plan 2022 -2023, in line with the Thirteenth General Program of Work (GPW 13) 2019-2023 and the Eastern Mediterranean Region Vision 2023.
Dr Hashish added that the Ministry of Health has also established specialized centers and clinics that provide education and counseling services to mothers, in addition to prohibiting the distribution and acceptance of free samples of drug substitutes. breast milk in health facilities. The Ministry, represented by the Department of Nutrition, he confirmed, is currently working on formulating policies supporting programs that promote breastfeeding.