KOTA SAMARAHAN: Only about 33 per cent of maternity mothers in Sarawak are breastfeeding their babies exclusively so far this year.
According to Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Minister, Datuk Hajah Fatimah Abdullah, the Health Ministry (KKM) has set a target of 50 per cent of maternity mothers advocating full time breastfeeding.
“Although the achievement of breastfeeding mothers is lower than the target set, we are still very proud that the number of breastfeeding mothers is increasing every year. In 2013, only 14 percent of maternity mothers breastfed compared to 33 per cent this year, an increase of almost 20 per cent,” she said.
Fatimah said Samarahan Division had shown the highest percentage (50%) of maternity mothers breastfed exclusively this year and Samarahan is an exemplary division for breastfeeding mothers.
“We can also be proud on the increasing percentage of mothers who breastfeed exclusively in other divisions such as Kuching, Sibu, Mukah, Miri and Limbang,” she said during the launching of the state-level World Breastfeeding Week at Summer Mall in Kota Samarahan, yesterday.
Fatimah said mother’s milk had the best nutrients for babies.
“With the new policy of the government, whereby government servants now enjoy three months maternity leave, there are no excuse for maternity mothers not breastfeeding their babies,” she said.
She added that besides the rich nutrients of mother’s milk, breastfeeding could also create a bonding process between a mother and her child.
“The awareness campaigns on breastfeeding such as at today’s event play an important role in increasing public awareness in the goodness of mother’s milk and breastfeeding. Therefore, the government is supporting such efforts to increase the awareness on six months of exclusively breastfeeding for new born babies,” said Fatimah.
She pointed out that in Sarawak, there were a total of 60 breastfeeding support groups to help mothers to continue breastfeeding for a longer time.
“There are also baby-friendly clinics that teach mothers on how to breastfeed their babies wherever they are,” she said.
Also present were Member of Parliament for Samarahan Rubiah Wang, acting director of State Health Department Dr Jamilah Hashim, Assistant Director Tan Beng Chin, Samarahan Divisional Health Officer, Dr Nur Fatihah Oh Abdullah, Samarahan Resident Abdul Rahman Sebli Sanusi, Summer Mall managing director Dato Lee Chee Fui.
- DATUK Fatimah Abdullah (fourth left) with (from left) Tan Beng Chin, Dr Nur Fatihah, Rubiah Wang, Dr Jamilah Hashim, Abdul Rahman Sebli and Dato Lee Chee Fui (right) launching the state-level World Breastfeeding Week at the Summer Mall in Kota Samarahan.