UAE, Sharjah 1st March 2012: The Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign officially launched yesterday in Sharjah under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi,. It is the first initiative of its kind in the Middle East.
The campaign aims to provide a right start for babies through breastfeeding that will remove chances of health problems in the future.
Furthermore, the campaign targets working women by providing suitable conditions that will promote their role as a key partner in economic and social development.
The Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign will, without doubt, play a pivotal role in creating a healthy environment for children and foster the overall wellbeing of children in the region.
In her opening address, Her Highness Sheikha Bodour, President of the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign stressed on the basic right of children to grow in a healthy environment and how we have a duty towards providing such conditions for them. She also highlighted that the role of this initiative will be to raise awareness through all government and private institutions and to create special facilities for breastfeeding in different public areas.
She stated that the campaign has several areas of interest like as the Friendly Breastfeeding Initiative that aims to create a suitable environment in the nurseries to encourage breastfeeding in the baby’s first two years.
The Friendly Mother-baby Public creates facilities for mothers to breastfeed her baby at public places. There is also the Baby-friendly Health Facilities that support the cause of the campaign.
The Mother Friendly Institutions Initiative plays a prominent role in The Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign as they provide health facilities in line with world standards.
The launch ceremony included presentations that addressed the needs and ways to spread the awareness and also the practical possibilities of this campaign.
Nancy Merheb, Researcher at UNICEF Gulf, stated how UNICEF would do their bit to encourage breastfeeding by forging partnerships, working with government agencies and directly with communities. She said that they would also work on a national breastfeeding cause and also support in the advancement of pre and postnatal medical care. She also promised to enhance the resources available to new mothers.
His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Owais, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and acting Minister of Health was all praise for the Baby-Mother Friendly Facilities and stated that it was very much in line with the international programs that encourage maternity hospitals to support breastfeeding. He revelaed that there were more than 20,000 hospitals like these operating in 165 countries around the world. He also pointed out that the UAE was the first Arab country to establish the first Maternal & Child Health Centre in the region.
Her Excellency Maryam Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs also declared the Ministry’s support to the campaign and saw this as an opportunity to create more baby-friendly environments. She also said that nurseries would receive unconditional help to promote this cause.
His Excellency Tariq bin Khadem, Director of Human Resources Department in Sharjah shed light on the role of organizations that provide an ideal work environment to mothers. Sultan Al Mualla, Director-General of the Sharjah Municipality, also outlined the role that Sharjah Municipality will play in providing areas friendly to the mother and her baby.
Speakers were scheduled 2015 as the year to achieve the goals of the campaign and encourage all institutions in Sharjah to dedicate special places to enable women to breastfeed her babies.
Mohammed Abdullah, CEO of Sharjah Islamic Bank, said:” “We are committed at Sharjah Islamic Bank to support Breastfeeding Friends through our presence today in the launching ceremony of “The Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign”. We belief at the Board of Directors the importance of the campaign and support of its noble objective, thus we will be the main sponsor of this campaign”.
The attendees were surprised the launch of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry the first Baby-Friendly Room in Sharjah enable mother to breastfeed her baby. They expressed their admiration about this initiative which comes in line the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign.
They declared 2015 as the year they would achieve all the goals of the campaign and by then all the public institutions in Sharjah would have dedicated places for mothers to breatsfeed their children.