Punjab health minister links pneumonia deaths to low breastfeeding ratio

MN Report 02:20 PM, 30 Jan, 2024
Punjab health minister links pneumonia deaths to low breastfeeding ratio

ISLAMABAD: Health department is taking measures to encourage mothers to breastfeed their children as denying them this natural feed can leave them vulnerable to diseases like pneumonia and may result in their stunted growth.

Punjab Caretaker Health Minister Prof Javed Akram said this while talking to a private news channel, and identified low rate of breastfeeding as a major cause of recent spike in children’s death from pneumonia in Punjab.

Replying to a question, he said around 17,000 pneumonia cases have so far been reported in the province, with a mortality rate of 1.3 percent.

He urged the media create awareness on the issue by running aggressive campaigns to educate the public about benefits of mother feed and timely vaccination of children.

He regretted that a majority of victims of pneumonia are malnourished kids with low immunity, urging mothers to breastfeed their children to boost their immunity against such diseases.

The minister, stressing the need for promotion of breastfeeding to save children from malnourishment said relevant ministries and departments have also been engaged in the efforts to address the issue and to curb pneumonia cases.

He blamed the ongoing harsh winter, air pollution, especially smog, for the rise in pneumonia cases in Punjab, adding that the situation is improving with extreme cold subsiding in February onwards.