In supporting and protecting the practise of breastfeeding, Brunei Darussalam has implemented the Enforcement of Maternity Leave Regulation 2011 since 1st of January 2011 whereby the maternity leave has been extended from 56 days to 105 days for mothers who are working in the Public Sector and extended to mothers working in the private sector. The care and attention of the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for the well-being of the citizens and residents in particular mothers can be clearly seen through assisting employers in the private sector in paying the full salary of the mothers for the five week maternity leave period. Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Awang Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar, Minister of Health shared the matter in a message in conjunction with the World Breastfeeding Week celebrated annually from the 1st to the 7th of August.
According to the Minister of Health, the welfare protection for mothers such as the Maternity Leave Regulation 2011 policy enables and facilitates the practise of breastfeeding. The Ministry of Health also provides continuous training to Professional Health Workers on breastfeeding to enable them to give support to mothers in the country. With the initiative, mothers especially those who have recently given birth, can gain immediate access to breastfeeding counselling. Aside from that, the country has also carried out the implementation and monitoring of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in 2019.
With the implemented measures in encouraging, supporting and safeguarding the practise of breastfeeding in the country, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding which is the first six months has increased from year to year since 2012, whereby the percentage of exclusive breastfeeding for that year was only 35 percent. Meanwhile, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months from April to September 2019 was 47 percent. This shows a very encouraging increase which exceeded the estimated increase of 45 percent for 2019 to 2020. The Ministry of Health also hopes for the continuous support and proactive involvement from various stakeholders to together be responsible and committed towards further enhancing the country's health status, especially in supporting mothers and their families from the aspect of breastfeeding. This year's celebration is themed 'Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet'.