Qatar celebrates World Breastfeeding Week

  • 3 months   ago

UNICEF-WHO call on governments to find innovative solutions even during pandemic times.

The Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation and private hospitals in Qatar are celebrating the World Breastfeeding Week from 1st to 7th August.


The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet” and in line with this theme, WHO and UNICEF are calling on governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, a critical component of breastfeeding support.

This is why UNICEF and WHO, in line with the policy actions advocated by the UNICEF-WHO-led Global Breastfeeding Collective, are calling on governments, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to find innovative solutions to ensure that access to these essential services are not disrupted and that families continue to receive the breastfeeding counselling they need to continue the good work.

Skilled breastfeeding counselling can be provided by different actors including health care professionals, lactation counsellors and peer support providers, and in a variety of settings– in health facilities or clinics, through home visits or community programmes, in person or remotely. Indeed, analysis indicates that increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding could save the lives of 820 000 children every year, generating US $302 billion in additional income. 

Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding counselling can help mothers to build confidence while respecting their individual circumstances and choices. Counselling can empower women to overcome challenges and prevent feeding and care practices that may interfere with optimal breastfeeding, such as the provision of unnecessary liquids, foods, and breastmilk substitutes to infants and young children.

Healthcare institutions in Qatar have launched an awareness campaign on the importance of breastfeeding and its benefits for mothers and babies.

The campaign focuses on the importance of mother’s milk and encourages mothers to rely on breastfeeding, by highlighting the drawbacks of baby formulas.

The campaign also addresses some of the common misconceptions on breastfeeding.

In order to encourage breastfeeding, HMC has allocated breastfeeding clinics in the outpatient departments of the Women’s Health and Research Center and Al Wakra Hospital, which operate from Sunday to Thursday from 7am until 3pm. 

The PHCC has designated places for breastfeeding consultations in maternity and childhood clinics in primary healthcare centres, operating from Sunday to Thursday

According to QNA, Sadriya al-Kahwaj - Head of an initiative on healthy children and teenagers, part of the National Health Strategy Ministry of Public Health, said that a high priority has been given to breastfeeding, noting that they have a target to increase breastfeeding by 15% in the first six months of the baby’s life.

She added that the ministry, in co-operation with the HMC and the PHCC, is working on enhancing breastfeeding among children younger than six months, aiming to lower the mortality rate of children under five years of age

Skilled counselling services can ensure that mothers and families receive this support, along with the information, the advice, and the reassurance they need to nourish their babies optimally. 

And improving access to skilled counselling for breastfeeding can extend the duration of breastfeeding and promote exclusive breastfeeding, with benefits for babies, families and economies.