Health Care

Lack of investment in breastfeeding promotion marring child health in India

Lack of investment in breastfeeding promotion marring child health in India”

These recommendations come as Unicef and WHO publish a new report warning that thousands of babies are dying across the world and economies losing billions of dollars for want of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding helps provides children everywhere with the healthiest start to life.

According to Raj Kumar Pokharel, the chief of nutrition section, Child Health Division, breastfeeding is the first immunisation for a newborn.

It is critical for achievement of numerous Sustainable Development Goals. It improves nutrition, prevents child mortality, and decreases the risk of noncommunicable diseases, and supports cognitive development and education.

" Beyond the individual breastfeeding benefits, the country will also benefit from improving breastfeeding practices through increase educational attainment which optimally contributes to boost productivity, " he said.

He also added that one of the most important rights of young children which guarantee their survival and wellbeing throughout life and that is breastfeeding.

Every dollar invested in breastfeeding generates US$35 in economic returns, according to figures from the Global Breastfeeding Collective. Further, though some women are unable to breastfeed and some choose not to, with the right support, the vast majority of women are able to breastfeed successfully.

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The paediatrician commended worldwide bodies such as "Save The Children", "World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as local Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for their support in making sure that exclusive breastfeeding was sustained in the country".

The Global Breastfeeding Collective also called on countries to, among others, increase funding to raise breastfeeding rates from birth through two years and fully implement the International Code for Marketing of Breast-milk substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions through strong legal measures that are enforced and independently monitored by organizations free from conflicts of interest.

World Health Organization (WHO) recognises breast milk as the best nutritional food source for infants, which should be available to babies deprived of their mother's milk.

Hajo Sani, representative of the wife of the Nigerian President, Aisha Buhari, said low awareness, poor living and working conditions, poor health and wrong perception of breastfeeding has been hindering more people from embracing the culture.

This is significant and unfortunate, as breastfeeding is linked to many health benefits for both the mother and baby. After six months, women should still continue breastfeeding till the baby turns one.

Both UN agencies emphasize that breastfeeding is critical to achieve numerous Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), asserting that it improves nutrition, SDG 2; prevents child mortality and decreases the risk of non-communicable diseases, SDG 3; and supports cognitive development and education, SDG 4. We are forming a system that ensures the needs of local women is met and brings together all maternity professionals.

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