The Ministry of Health and UNICEF strive for children to have the best start in life by promoting breastfeeding
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 1 August 2012 – The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) jointly initiated a campaign today to mark the 10 Days of Breastfeeding from 1-10 August 2012. This year’s campaign coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding and the 20th anniversary of the World Breastfeeding Week, which will be celebrated throughout the world from 1-7 August 2012 with the theme “Understanding the Past - Planning the Future”.
“Breastfeeding is the single most effective intervention for preventing morbidity and deaths of children under 5”, said Nusratullo Salimov, 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”.
Depriving a child from breast milk, particularly during the first six month of life is one of the main contributing factors to morbidity and mortality of infants and young children. Inappropriate and poor quality complementary feeding accelerates this process and impacts negatively on all aspects of the child’s life, especially learning ability, productivity and physical and cognitive development.
Exclusively breastfed infants have 2.5 times fewer episodes of illness 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 complementary food and drinks, continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond provides an important source of nutrients that protect the child against diseases.
“The continued promotion of breastfeeding will save lives and help reduce stunting” said Ms. Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan. “Only 23 per cent of mothers in Tajikistan breastfeed their children exclusively throughout the first six months. We hope this rate will significantly increase as the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months are better appreciated and a conducive environment is created by family members for breastfeeding mothers”, added Ms. Moshiri.
The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, which was developed 10 years ago by WHO and UNICEF, pays much attention to the impact that feeding practices have on the nutritional status, growth and development, health, and thus the very survival of infants and young children.
UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health in promoting recommendations of the Global Strategy including supporting and promoting the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is one of the main directions of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. UNICEF has been supporting the Ministry of Health in certification and recertification of maternity hospitals as Baby-Friendly. So far, 53 hospitals out of 69 have been certified as Baby-Friendly and about 82% of annual deliveries take place in these hospitals.
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. Akobir Zohidov, Communication Section
Tel.: +992 (918) 31 00 50