QUETTA - Coordinator of National Programme for Lady Health Workers Balochistan, Dr Sami Kakar has said that 61.1 percent of mothers start breastfeeding their new born babies within half an hour of birth in Balochistan while 43.9 percent of mothers breastfeed their babies for six months only. In Balochistan, 18.9 percent of children suffer from severe malnutrition and 46.6 percent of children do not reach their full height compared to normal children due to malnutrition, he said while talking to the media at the office of National Programme for Lady Health Workers on Wednesday.  The child should be exclusively breastfed immediately after birth, and after six months, the baby should be given soft supplementary food along with the mother’s milk. Malnutrition affects children directly or indirectly, causing more than half of the children to die and this mortality rate is very high in Pakistan. Dr Sami Kakar stressing the need for creating awareness about the mother’s milk said that mother’s milk is a great gift from nature for the child, that protects the mother and the child from many diseases. Quoting verses of Quran “Breastfeed children for two years” he said it means that mother’s milk is the best food for children, and breastfeeding is a favourite and good deed in the sight of Allah, and it benefits both the mother and the child. He said that the mother’s milk contains all the nutrients required by the child and the ratio of these components changes with the age of the child. According to medical experts, Dr Sami said the early condensed milk contains a lot of immunity which acts as the initial vaccine for the baby and protects the very delicate body system of the newborn from many diseases. He said that after giving birth to children, the mother does not lose much blood and excess body fat is also lost. He said that with the support of the National Programme and UNICEF, LHWs are working in different areas of Quetta for nutrition messages and awareness of nutritional deficiency.