National campaign promotes breastfeeding in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 1 August 2011 – Supporting and promoting breastfeeding is the aim of a national campaign organised by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF in Tajikistan to mark the 10 Days of Breastfeeding from 1-10 August 2011. The campaign coincides with the World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated throughout the world from 1-7 August.
“Breastfeeding is the single most effective intervention for preventing deaths of children under 5,” said Saida Jobirova, First Deputy Minister of Health of Tajikistan. “In the first six months after birth, when a baby is most at risk, exclusive breastfeeding helps to protect against diarrhoea and other common infections.”
Exclusively breastfed infants have 2.5 times fewer illness cases and are 25 times less likely to die from diarrhoea in the first six months of life than infants fed with breastmilk substitutes. Although at six months of age a child needs complimentary foods and drinks, continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond provides an important source of nutrients that protect the child against diseases.
“All mothers are encouraged to exclusively breastfeed their children for the first six months after birth,” said Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country representative in Tajikistan. “This will help protect children from illness and save their lives.”
The 2009 National Nutrition Survey has shown that almost all infants under two years of age in Tajikistan are breastfed for at least the first four months. Every sixth mother breastfeeds her baby within the first 30 minutes from delivery.
Despite these achievements, only 23 per cent of mothers in Tajikistan breastfeed their children exclusively throughout the first six months. Almost half of mothers start giving their children complimentary food between four and six months, and every tenth mother does so even earlier. Early initiation of complimentary feeding increases the risk of diarrhoea and malnutrition in children.
For more information, please contact:
Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan:
Ms. Fatima Goibova, Press Officer
Tel.: +992 (44) 600 60 02 (office), +992 (918) 21 46 46 (mob.)
UNICEF in Tajikistan:
Mr. Alexander Sodiqov, Communication Officer
Tel.: +992 (918) 31 00 57