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Breastfeeding: A Simple Way to Save Young Lives

TEHRAN, 1 August 2006: In a developing country, a child who is breastfed is almost three times more likely to survive infancy than a child who is not breastfed, UNICEF said today at the start of World Breastfeeding Week.

“World Breastfeeding Week gives us an opportunity to advocate for a very simple way to save children’s lives”, said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. “Though breastfeeding rates are increasing in the developing world, an estimated 63 per cent of children under 6 months of age are still not adequately breastfed. As a result, millions of children start their lives at a disadvantage.”
In Iran, breastfeeding week was commemorated in a joint event held by the Ministry of Health, Shahid Beheshti Medical University, UNICEF and other related organizations and NGOS.

“Iran has been the first among east Mediterranean countries to approve the international breastfeeding code and adopt it as a national law, ” said Dr. Mohammad Bagher Lankarani, Iran’s Minister of Health. “Breastfeeding among under 2-year-olds is currently 90% in the rural areas, but the concern is elsewhere. Only 28% of babies  under 6 months of age receive exclusive breastfeeding in Iran and it’s our top priority to improve that figure.”

This year’s theme of breastfeeding week ­- ”Breastmilk and the 25-year-old International Code” comes on the 25th anniversary of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The Code aims to protect and promote breastfeeding by prohibiting the advertising and aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats.

“Breastfeeding promotion is a public health intervention that is effective, affordable and has a significant impact, ” said Jan-Pieter Kleijburg UNICEF Officer in Charge, while attending the launch of breastfeeding week. “Further improvements in breastfeeding and complementary feeding are essential for success in child survival, in reducing hunger, and to ensure that children develop in a manner that they may best benefit from education and opportunity.”

World Breastfeeding Week is observed in over 120 countries by UNICEF and its partners, including the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and the World Health Organization. The aim is to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which yields tremendous health benefits, providing critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases such as pneumonia and fostering growth and development.

 

 
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