RAJSHAHI: About one-third of deaths among children under five years is for malnutrition while above two-third of the deaths occurs due to inappropriate feeding practices during the first year of their birth, reports BSS.
This was told at a meeting on Breast Milk Substitute (BMS) Act, 2013 at conference hall of Civil Surgeon Office here on Wednesday.Speakers said sufficient breastfeeding is of paramount for physical and mental development of the babies, ensuring supply of essential nutrients. So, there should be adequate measures to encourage the lactating mothers for appropriate breastfeeding instead of depending on supplementary feed till six-month age of their babies.
Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation (BBF) and Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Programme jointly organised the discussion in association with Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN).
Deputy Director of Department of Family Planning Dr Nasim Akhter, Deputy Civil Surgeon Dr Brnabas Hasdak and its Chief Statistics Officer Mahbubur Rashid addressed the meeting as resource persons.
Dr Nasim Akhter said the newborn babies exclusively need first breast milk within an hour of their birth as it contains nutritious colostrums and antibodies that make them stronger, enhancing immune system and disease resistance capacities.
She called for creating social awareness about appropriate breastfeeding as many mothers still do not know importance of giving first breast milk to their children.
In his concept paper Md Sakib, divisional officer of BBF, said: “Although Bangladesh has surpassed the global target of Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF), it is still far behind in terms of ensuring Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF).”IYCF is the introduction of nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at six months together with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond.
Compared to the urban children, the rural children have been found to be more prone to underdevelopment while the rate of children with stunted growth is the lowest in Rajshahi division.
He said there are complaints that some companies are marketing baby food without IPHN registration, providing gifts to doctors or buyers to promote their products.
“Public awareness is crucial to make people aware about those junk foods,” he told the meeting.