The involvement of artistes in breastfeeding advocacy programmes can further encourage and promote breastfeeding in Malaysia, said Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

She believes that the work of artistes such as theatre activists, songwriters and lyricists can influence the community’s understanding of the importance of breast milk to a baby’s growth.

“This year, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) wants to expand its efforts to promote breast milk by involving stakeholders in Malaysia’s art scene.

“This approach adds a new dimension to the advocacy method that has been implemented so far, in addition to encouraging the involvement of various parties,” she said in her virtual speech at the Embracing Breastfeeding Through Arts programme today.

Dr Zaliha said that this approach was also able to unearth the talents of local artistes in promoting breastfeeding in Malaysia.

She said that this year’s World Breastfeeding Week was held in collaboration with the Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA) with the theme 'Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents'.

Meanwhile, Dr Zaliha said that according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2022, 94.9 per cent of mothers in Malaysia breastfed their babies.

She said the survey also showed that one in two children under the age of two were still breastfeeding.

“The Malaysian National Health Survey in 2016 revealed that 47.1 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfed their babies for the first six months of life, a nearly fourfold increase from 14.4 per cent in 2006.

“This shows that parents are aware that breastfeeding is essential for their children’s health and well-being, but we are still far from achieving the global and national target of 70 per cent (exclusive breastfeeding),” she said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency