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1 August 2012 - World Breastfeeding Week 2012: Celebrating Ten Years of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding

UNICEF

Today marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August). UNICEF together with the Government of Uganda joins the rest of the world in commemorating the week under the theme, “Learning from the past to improve the future, strengthening the first 1000 days.”

Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants and it gives them all the nutrients they need for healthy development. Optimal breastfeeding together with complementary feeding help prevent malnutrition and can save about a million child lives.

The benefits of breastfeeding are enormous, but globally less than 40 per cent of infants under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed.  In Uganda, only 62 per cent of children under six months old are exclusively breastfed, according to national figures.

Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with better weight gain in babies and significantly less cases of diarrhea and acute respiratory diseases. Breast milk is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses. It is therefore due to these powerful benefits that WHO and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six months old.

In Uganda, tremendous efforts have been directed towards the promotion, protection and support of optimal feeding through the Infant and Young Child Feeding Programmes. To further support this, the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health approved a national policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding which promotes exclusive breastfeeding by mothers.

This year, the Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF, continues to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their infants during the first six months through the recently launched Family

Health Days, an intervention designed to complement the existing health facility-based and outreach health services.

“Breastfeeding is the best choice for every child and its benefits go beyond breastfeeding itself,” says Nelly Birungi, UNICEF Nutrition Officer.

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About UNICEF

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org/uganda.

Follow us on   @UNICEFUganda and   www.facebook.com/unicefuganda

For further information, please contact:
Ijuka Agnes Barongo, UNICEF Uganda, Mobile: +256 717171115, Tel: +256 417 171 000, abarongo@unicef.org

 

 
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