Infants, living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will be provided with milk powder free of charges by the Ministry of Health. This decision was made by the cabinet lead by King Salman. This decision by the cabinet has been based upon a recommendation to help out the infants from the poor families. Those children up to the age of 24 months will be provided with free of charge milk powder. This assistance will be carried out in complete accordance with the specific requirement controls which have been set by the Health Insurance Council and the Saudi Health Council. This was stated by the candidate during their regular weekly sessions which had been held on Monday, earlier this week.[irp]
The Saudi Health Council will be laying down the criteria and conditions for the import of the milk powder which is to be distributed through the various government hospitals located around the Kingdom. However, this will not be carrying any sort of trademark. This milk distribution operation will also be coordinated with the Health Insurance Council. Alongside the milk distribution operation, the Saudi cabinet has also called for the establishment of a national association which is to be tasked with the promotion of breastfeeding and also subsequently launching campaigns all around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to raise the awareness of benefits and significance of breastfeeding.
The rate of breastfeeding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is low, even though the act of breastfeeding is most commonly regarded as the best way of nourishing the infants up to a certain age. In accordance with the conclusion of a study which had been published by the Saudi Daily Al Eqtisadiya 4 years ago, around 80 percent of the mothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would stop breastfeeding their children after just one month of giving birth to them.
The study by Al Eqtisadiya also stated that only around 12 percent of the mothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia breastfeed their children for the first six months after giving birth. Those who do not understand the significance of this statistic should understand that in most of the countries this rate should be AT LEAST 70 percent. Breastfeeding the child will allow the child to only receive the natural mother’s milk, with no other liquids, foods or substitutes mixed in except for the medication. This will allow the child to attain the optimal growth and survival nutrients from the milk of the mother.[irp]
The WHO or World Health Organization strongly recommends only breastfeeding the children for at least six months after giving birth to them. However, even the rate for those mothers who exclusively breastfeed their children for the period of 4 months after the birth of their child is extremely low in the Middle Eastern or Gulf region. It is estimated that the current rate is downwards of 24 percent. The medical experts are now citing new pregnancy, not enough breast milk and other health problems for common reasons to halt breastfeeding.
Source: Saudi Gazette