Pajhwok08/06/2012By Zarghona Salehi [Printer Friendly Version]
KABUL - The Ministry of Public Health on Sunday imposed a ban on import and production of substitutes for mother milk, warning violators of stern legal action.
Public Health Director Dr. Suraya Dalil announced the ban at a ceremony marking the World Breastfeeding Week in Kabul.
She said scientific studies revealed that breastfeeding a baby immediately birth could reduce chances of his/her mortality by 22 percent. Depriving a newborn of the right for a day can increase his mortality risk by 30 percent.
Mother’s milk is full of the vitamins needed for infants’ physical and mental growth, according to the minister, who said breastfeeding protected babies form diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, anemia and others.
Breastfeeding helped prevent postnatal bleeding among mothers, the minister explained, asking women to feed their children their own milk for six months and complementary food until they turned two.
Baby formula could not be a substitute for breastfeeding, Dalil stressed, saying: "The imports and production of all baby formulae have been banned and violators would be dealt with sternly.''
Speaking on the occasion, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Afghanistan Dr. Ahmad Shadol also highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies.
He said 50 percent of newborns were currently breastfed, compared to 35 percent six years ago, assuring full support for the ministry's breastfeeding programme.