Breastfeeding saves children’s lives
"The topic of breastfeeding as the most optimal and healthiest way of feeding every child is returning to focus" is the conclusion of Experts' Meeting on Breastfeeding
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"The importance of breastfeeding becomes even greater in crises and circumstances where hygienically adequate conditions are limited and where there are no other sources of food. Breastfeeding is always hygienic. In such situations, breastfeeding really can save a child's life," said Dr Emina Hadžimuratović, IBCLC consultant for breastfeeding and lactation at the pediatric clinic in Sarajevo, in her presentation at the experts meeting on the improvement of breastfeeding held in Neum.
"Crises, regardless of whether they are manmade or natural harm the health of the population, especially the health of children under one year of age (classified as infants). To succeed with breastfeeding in crises, we must prepare for it at a time when the situation is stable.," added.Dr. Hadžimuratović, referring to the importance of breastfeeding support centres that were formed through the project in Kakanj, Kalesija, Gradačac, Bihać and Sanski Most:
"The centres were formed with the mission to provide support to families and mothers in the transition period from pregnancy to early parenthood. Through this project, the process of educating staff working in breastfeeding centres was carried out, and of course, that education is based on evidence and best health practices. The most important thing is that these centres are an integrated part of the existing health system and were formed at health centres, and I think that's why they will be very successful."
At the meeting, dr. Aida Filipović Hadžiomeragić from Federal Public Health Institute introduced the participants to the global Initiative "Baby friendly hospitals" which aims to help the practical implementation of activities for the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding in hospitals and maternity wards. She spoke about the breastfeeding program in the Federation of BiH, as well as the policy for the improvement of children's and the current strategic plan for improving children's early growth and development in the FBiH 2020-2025.
Aldina Bukva Mahmutović from the health section in UNICEF BiH pointed out how UNICEF is involved in early growth and development, as well as nutrition:
"For breastfeeding to be achieved for all children within the first six months, UNICEF BiH also works through the establishment of the Baby Friendly hospital concept, expert training, parenting school, support for public campaigns, and the development of timely guidelines, such as, for example, Nutrition of infants and young children in the context COVID-19”.
The meeting on the improvement of breastfeeding was held as part of the conference "For Every Child, Health - The importance of public health in crises" in Neum from 10-15 October, organized by the FBiH Institute of Public Health with the support of UNICEF BiH within the EU project "Mitigating the consequences of COVID-19 on the lives of children and families in the Western Balkans and Turkey".