Sharjah Education Council (SEC) and Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign (SBFEC) merged forces at a high-level meeting to finalize plans for making breastfeeding a part of the education curriculum at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
These plans include making breastfeeding an integral part of Sharjah Education Council’s Strategic Plan for 2013-2015. This will ensure that primary, secondary and tertiary students will grow up with a greater awareness and stronger understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding from a multitude of perspectives including medical, emotional, social and economic.
One of the major agreements from the meeting is that the Nurseries Plan for the SEC should include the requirements of breastfeeding-friendly nurseries. In addition, the two parties agreed to jointly organize seminars and educational events in future, to spread awareness. Breastfeeding will be given adequate attention in the Strategic Plan for 2013-15, signalling how committed the emirate is to becoming a regional and global leader in this field.
Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Committee Director of the Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign (SBFEC), said: “Some countries only emphasize the importance of breastfeeding to women are already pregnant or after childbirth. However by that stage it might be too late as some women will already have decided to use artificial milk. Consequently, the earlier we teach students these benefits, the higher the chances that they will grow up to support baby-friendly practices when they become parents, nursery owners, business owners, hospital owners and more.”
Elaborating on the thought processes behind this decision, Mrs Aisha Saif, Secretary General of the Sharjah Education Council, said: “Breastfeeding is a vital aspect of motherhood, but it should not only be taught to mothers. The students who we teach about the benefits of breastfeeding will graduate to become the employers, health professionals and policy makers of tomorrow. Therefore we are planting the seed of awareness early in their education, so that by the time they grow Sharjah will bloom into an international leader.”
Sharjah Education Council and Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign will be and merging their collective strengths to aid in making Sharjah’s students internationally competitive in terms of awareness of a wide range of benefits that will boost not only the emirate’s health and education standards, but its economy as well.