Oman’s Ministry of Health launches National Exclusive Breastfeeding Campaign

Oman Ministry of Health
Oman Ministry of Health

Muscat: Oman’s Ministry of Health launches National Exclusive Breastfeeding Campaign

In a statement issued MOH said : The Ministry of Health (MOH), represented by the Directorate General for primary health care (Nutrition Department), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Al Jisr Foundation launched today (Monday) the National Campaign for Exclusive Breastfeeding.

The virtual launching ceremony was held at the Ministry’s headquarters under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Fatima Mohammed aL Ajmi, MOH undersecretary for Administrative, Financial, and planning Affairs, along with number of concerned official, joining PHC directors general and directors as well nutrition focal points at the Governorates.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child’s life up-to at least 50% to by 2025 in the Sultanate aligned with the WHO recommendations set forth to achieve global nutrition targets, in addition to reducing morbidity and mortality rates for children under five-year of age.

Dr. Said Al-Lamki, Director General of Primary Health Care highlighted in his welcoming speech the significant role of the Nutrition Department, for which the Department has trained a number of medical cadres to be international advisers on breastfeeding in various Sultanate’s hospitals. He stressed that mother milk is the optimal food for the baby as it contains essential nutrients that enhanced the body immune and disease resistant. said in the statement MOH.

Meanwhile, H.E. Dr, Jean Yaacoub Jabbour, WHO representative to the Sultanate stressed in his word that through the Nutrition Action Plan (2005-2016), the United Nations expressed its concern that nearly two children out of three under six months of age are not exclusively breastfed. He added that less than one child out of five is exclusively breastfed for 12 month in high-income countries, Furthermore, two children out of three aged between six months and two years are exclusively breastfed in the law and middle income countries.

‘We must recognize that achieving the WHO target to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding fo the first six months up to at least 50% by 2025 is one of the top priorities. Therefore, we have to pool efforts and sustainable technical and financial resources, as well as develop supportive and preventive polices and endorse political will to enhance the health systems” WHO representative said.

Dr. Jean Yaacoub Jabbour pointed out that the Sultanate has adopted the primary healthcare (PHC) concept as a major key for various levels of healthcare services, The Sultanate has also focused on supporting the PHC components by establishing and supporting national health programs such as the expanded program for immunization, mother & child car program and others, That resulted in classifying the Sultanate by the WHO in the “World Health Report 2000” as the first country among the member states in the efficiency in health improvement and the eighth country in health system efficiency.

Dina Al Khaili, Head of Al Jisr Foundation shed light on the concrete cooperation between Al Jisr Foundation and the Ministry of Health in raising awareness on breastfeeding through preparing awareness messages, breastfeeding booklets and videos.

In addition, the Foundation supports the campaign by organizing training workshops on mother & child healthcare along with training the medical cadres to offer advice in breastfeeding.

Furthermore, Al Khalili clarified that amid Covid-19, Al Jisr Foundation has provided breast pumps for a number of mothers infected with Covid-19 in the Governorates in order to be enabled to suck out the milk and give it to her child in case she can’t feed him/her directly.

The Head of Al Jisr Foundation pointed out that this campaign is integrated with the National Campaign of Nutrition to be launched during this year and lean on the results and indicators of the National Survey of Nutrition that carried by the Ministry in 2017.

The one-year national campaign will be run in various forms including awareness activities inside and outside health institutions settings, lectures in all health facilities, intensified awareness messages on exclusive breastfeeding, along with qualifying breastfeeding consultants in all the Sultanate’s hospitals.

Moreover, the campaign will target pregnant in their regular visits in the health centers and hospitals, following them up from the beginning of pregnancy up until sex month from delivery, in addition to giving them advices and information on the exclusive breastfeeding, and directing them to continue exclusive breastfeeding until their babies complete six-month of age. To allow for a supportive environment for the nursing mothers, the campaign will target further father and grandmothers specifically to raise their awareness on the importance of the exclusive breastfeeding and its distinctive values for both mother and child.

The latest studies carried out by the Nutrition Department (National Nutrition Survey 2017) showed that the rate of exclusive breastfeeding up to 6months of child’s age is only (23%) despite exerted efforts therefore, effective measures had to be taken to increase community awareness on exclusive breastfeeding significance particularly the mothers who have babies less that 6 months of age. As a result, this drive was planned to be run across the entire Sultanate for a period of one year.

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