Princess Budoor Al Qassimi Initiated, Sharjah Baby- Friendly Emirate Campaign Announces Activities to Inspire Mothers Through World Breastfeeding Week

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Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign (SBFEC) is launching a four-month series of activities to support breastfeeding mothers and position Sharjah as a global leader in mother-friendliness and baby-friendliness.

According to WHO, this will save over 1.5 million children every year worldwide, while also saving governments astronomical amounts in healthcare.

Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign (SBFEC) is launching a four-month series of activities to support breastfeeding mothers and position Sharjah as a global leader in mother-friendliness and baby-friendliness.

Sharjah, along with 180 countries celebrated World Breastfeeding Week during 1-7 August, becoming the first Emirates initiative starting with international celebrations and lasting until National Breastfeeding Week between 10-16 November.

This event included numerous educational lecture’s on the health benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and child along with sharing scientific and practical expertise on topics such as 'Breastfeeding in the early days,' 'Breastfeeding and returning to work,' 'Weaning' and others.

The event will encompass all forms of audio-visual educational materials specially prepared by the campaign to aid the audience in absorbing this advice in a clear and interactive way. The focus is mainly to benefit mothers whether they have newborns or children at more advanced stages.

While elaborating further, Princess Sheikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qassimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and President of the Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign (SBFEC) stated, “The emirate of Sharjah aspires to create one of the world's most mother-friendly and baby-friendly environments. Breastfeeding is a vital part of our goal, specifically exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months - as these are the most crucial stages of a baby's physical and intellectual development. Therefore we have prepared diverse programs and activities to benefit people from all segments of society and future generations."

The extended schedule will bridge the gap between World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Week while raising awareness of the need to increase the proportion of breastfeeding mothers.

Adding to all, these activities are in accordance to the year’s international theme: "Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers," and comes amongst alarming research from advanced countries with similar lifestyles to the UAE.

According to WHO, this will save over 1.5 million children every year worldwide, while also saving governments astronomical amounts in healthcare.

Elaborating further and emphasizing upon the importance of mother support networks, Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Director of the Executive Committee for the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign, said, "Modern lifestyles are evolving, so we must also evolve our methods in sync with the times. The family and the hospital are no longer the mother's sole support circles. We appreciate that mothers of newborn babies can get extremely busy and overwhelmed - so rather than waiting for them to visit a hospital, we will be more proactive and more mobile by going to them through fellow mothers, their social networks, communities, workplaces and more. You might not be a lactation expert, but being a supportive friend is all the qualification you need to get training and advise other mothers - because moral support can be just as important as professional support."

SBFEC aims at creating support groups in nurseries and workplaces, and referring mothers to them upon discharge following childbirth. In fact while implementing the ten steps recommended by WHO they have already made impressive progress.

The Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign was initiated in March 2012 under the generous patronage of Princess Sheikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qassimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and President of the Campaign. The campaign encompasses four initiatives: Breastfeeding-Friendly Nurseries, Mother and Baby-Friendly Public Places, Mother-Friendly Workplaces and Baby-Friendly Health Facilities. The campaign is sponsored by the Sharjah Islamic Bank.

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