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Moldova takes action to improve breastfeeding rates

© UNICEF Moldova
© UNICEF Moldova, 2014

Chisinau, 1 August 2014 – Moldova is set to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2014 with determination and involvement of key partners. During 1–7 August, public hospitals and other health facilities across the country will promote and support breastfeeding by providing information and counselling to mothers. 

The mass media will also join the campaign in promoting positive breastfeeding practices through print, radio, TV and social media. World Breastfeeding Week 2014 is organized in Moldova by the Ministry of Health, National Center of Public Health in partnership with UNICEF and WHO.

World Breastfeeding Week is held every year in more than 170 countries to highlight how vital breastfeeding is to a child’s survival, health, nutrition and development. Breastfeeding is one of the simplest, smartest and most cost-effective way to keep children healthy and give them the best start in life.

More than half of all babies in Moldova (60 per cent) are breastfed within the first hour after birth, but only one third are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, according to the 2012 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the Moldovan Ministry of Health and UNICEF.

Breasfeeding rates are also dropping in the country. In 2005, 46 per cent of babies were breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. In 2012, the rate dropped to 36 per cent. MICS survey data show that baby-feeding practices vary geographically infants in villages fare better, where 40 per cent are exclusively breastfed, compared to only 30 per cent in the cities.

Experts say that breastfeeding is affected by maternal fatigue, lack of support from the partner and family, affordable and easily available infant formula, lack of information on the benefits of breast milk compared to artificial feeding, and low capacity of health workers to properly advise mothers on how to start and maintain breastfeeding.

An independent evaluation of maternal and child health care in Moldova, conducted with the support of WHO in 2013, found that some medical facilities promote infant formula. However, experts warn that the use of artificial feeding is harmful because babies in their first 4 to 6 months of life cannot properly digest food other than breast milk.

© UNICEF Moldova
© UNICEF Moldova, 2014

 As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, and then get safe and nutritionally adequate complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.

Breastfeeding has extraordinary benefits for both child and mother. Breast milk provides all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals an infant needs for growth for the first 6 months, and no other liquids or food are needed. In addition breastfeeding creates a special bond between mother and baby and the interaction between the mother and child during breastfeeding has positive repercussions for life, in terms of stimulation, behaviour, speech, sense of wellbeing and security, and how the child relates to other people.

Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of chronic conditions later in life, such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, childhood asthma and childhood leukaemias. Studies have shown that breastfed infants do better on intelligence and behaviour tests into adulthood than formula-fed babies. Women who have breastfed are also less likely to develop ovarian and breast cancers.

For further contact:

Press OfficerMinistry of Health:

Tel: 268810, 268850;

E-mail: massmedia@ms.gov.md;

Web: www.ms.gov.md;

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sanatatemoldova;

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MSanatatii

 

Press Officer, UNICEF Moldova:

Tel: 269 235;

E-mail: ilipcanu@unicef.org;

Web: www.unicef.md;

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UNICEFMoldova;

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoldovaUNICEF 

 

 

 

 

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