The need to focus on breastfeeding as a national programme was stressed at Sidra’s Symposia Series yesterday.
The event looked at ways to raise awareness of social and health consequences of inadequate breastfeeding rates and the use of artificial formula in Qatar.
With breastfeeding rates in Qatar among the lowest regionally, experts explored ways in which Qatar can reach the National Health Strategy’s (NHS) breastfeeding objectives.
The World Health Organisation/Unicef’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was discussed as one such programme which, if implemented as a national initiative, would support Qatar in reaching NHS objectives.
Moderated by Sidra’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer and founder of Symposia Series, Dr Joachim Dudenhausen, the event featured local and international speakers.
“We need to raise awareness of the critical role healthcare professionals play in promoting breastfeeding and issues we experience in Qatar by failing to create an environment where women and families are able to breastfeed or find help and support with breastfeeding.
The speakers gathered for the symposium are pioneering the promotion of breastfeeding as a common practice in Qatar and internationally, and we hope it will help us make greater strides in meeting NHS goals,” said Dr Dudenhausen.
Randa Saadeh, who recently retired as director of Nutrition in the Life Course Unit in the Nutrition Department at WHO in Geneva, discussed BFHI, launched in 1991, detailing challenges to its implementation and steps needed to move forward to ensure the best start for all Qatari children. As a leading force behind its global implementation, Saadeh hoped Qatar implements it throughout the hospitals in the country. “I hope that Sidra becomes the key driver of BFHI implementation throughout Qatar and the region.”
Speakers included Dr Shaheen Manzur, General Practitioner at the Dukhan Medical Center and founder of the first breastfeeding clinic at the primary care level in Qatar, and Laura Fisher, Business Manager of Step2 Education, an online education company which assists institutions striving to achieve the Baby-Friendly designation. Sidra’s Chief Nursing and Allied Health Officer Dr Mary Boyd was also on the panel.
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