In the presence of Her Highness Sheikha Aisha bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, the Breastfeeding Friends Society, one of the health promotion associations at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah, organized its 18th annual ceremony, which was held at the Cultural Palace in Sharjah. During the ceremony, the society praised the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for supporting women and empowering them, and for his care and protection of children.

The ceremony was attended by HE Iman Rashid Saif, Director of the Health Promotion Department; Eng. Khawla Al Noman, Head of Breastfeeding Friends Society; and a number of directors and employees of government departments, in addition to representatives of the society’s sponsors. The ceremony was also attended by the society’s volunteers, the media and a large group of mothers.

Her Highness Sheikha Aisha bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, praised the virtues of Sheikh Zayed, who dedicated his life to serving his nation. She also praised his ideas and his dreams and his ambitions, as well as his dedication to unite the UAE, noting that the country has become a shining example for everyone to follow. She then reviewed a number of positions of the founding father, where he encouraged Arab solidarity and supported brotherly countries in various different situations.

Her Highness Sheikha Aisha bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, said: “We recall and remember the words of Sheikh Zayed this year, which we have dedicated to our Founding Father, and we listen to his conversations and speeches on television, where we can benefit from the wisdom that can be found in every word he has said. His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has stated that all that Sheikh Zayed loved and everything that he has said must be at the forefront of our constitution.”

Eng. Khawla Al Noman, Head of Breastfeeding Friends Society, stated that the society operates under the wise guidance and the continuous care of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, who provides all types of support to the society, so that it continues to raise awareness and offer guidance to mothers and children.

Al Noman added, “This year, we celebrate the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. We will always remember his support of women and mothers, and his continuous appreciation of their role in raising future generations to become active partners in the development of the country, which was made clear when he said that women are not only half the society from the numerical perspective, but also from their participation in the preparation of future generations.”

Al Noman reviewed the most prominent achievements of the society during the past 11 months, which includes the increase in the number of the society’s active volunteers to 75, and the organization of 40 forums that benefited 565 mothers. She remarked that the society also organized 105 awareness platforms, 64 lectures, 75 workshops and 30 home visits. She added that the society trained 17 new trainees that enrolled in the Breastfeeding Training Program, and benefitted 700 mothers who used the sale and rental service of breastfeeding supplies.

The Head of Breastfeeding Friends Society stated that the society’s phone support line received 176 calls in Arabic, 157 calls in English and 118 calls in Urdu, whereas the number of consultations through social media reached 436, and the number of distributed educational pamphlets reached 15,982. She added that the total number of volunteer hours at the society from October 2017 until August 2018 equalled a total of 6,544 hours.

Dima Salahat, Executive Secretary at the Breastfeeding Friends Society, presented the results of a questionnaire conducted by the society during the past few months. The questionnaire focused on both the level of awareness of working mothers on the importance of breastfeeding, and the extent to which breastfeeding laws and policies are implemented at government institutions in Sharjah.

The results of the questionnaire demonstrated that 99% of female employees were fully aware of the importance of breastfeeding, which reflects the high level of awareness among the members of the community. The results also demonstrated that 86% of employees were fully aware of how long a mother should breastfeed, which is a period of at least two years. Finally, the results showed that the percentage of breastfeeding hours that were utilized reached 72%.

Salahat stressed that the results of the questionnaire has prompted the society to propose a number of recommendations, such as working to increase the awareness of government departments on the importance of paying special attention to the specifications of nursing rooms, in addition to encouraging government institutions to enhance the promotion of the society’s support line 600570001, which can be achieved by placing the society’s promotional posters at these institutions to make it easier for the female staff to find and use the support line.

At the end of the ceremony, Her Highness Sheikha Aisha bint Mohammed Al Qasimi honoured 163 individuals and institutions, which includes sponsors, supporters, and government institutions that have set up rooms for nursing, as well as graduates of the Breastfeeding Training Program 2018, lecturers, volunteers and employees.


Source: MISBAR Communications