Exclusive breastfeeding saves young lives, says UNICEF and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health
Tashkent, August 5 2009. The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan and UNICEF held a joint briefing for medical practitioners and the media today to spread the word that exclusive breastfeeding saves lives.
The briefing kicks off the international breastfeeding week that runs from August 3 to 10. The international declaration on breastfeeding protection, motivation and promotion was signed by 32 states on August 1, 1990. It seeks to halt the decline of exclusive breastfeeding worldwide and promote the health benefits of the practice for babies.
This year’s breastfeeding week includes a range of activities, including health fairs and public briefings in Tashkent and across the country. Educational materials on the benefits of breastfeeding are also being shared with primary health care professionals, community workers, NGO workers and others.
The main goal of this year’s world breastfeeding week is to draw the attention of policy makers, health providers and parents to the vital role breastfeeding plays in critical child survival situations.
Breast milk contains all micronutrients, anti-bodies, hormones, antioxidants and substances that strengthen children’s immune systems, meaning they are better equipped to fight off life threatening diseases. There are no risks involved in breastfeeding, unlike through drinking contaminated water as a substitute or cooking in poor sanitary conditions.
UNICEF data indicates that if all babies were exclusive breastfed within the first six months of their lives, 3,500 children’s lives could be saved every day globally, or over one and quarter million lives could be saved every year. Exclusive breastfeeding saves young lives, says UNICEF and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health
Only breast milk can ensure the children’s healthy growth and development. Breastfeeding is a natural provider of nutrition and protection to babies and young children, as well as their mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding within the first six months of a baby’s life has a dramatically positive effect on health and helps reduce infant mortality rates.
The World Health Organisation and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for all babies up to the age of 6 months. Experts emphasize that colostrum, which is produced immediately after childbirth, must be the “first meal” of a newborn child.
For more information please contact:
Rano Sabitova – UNICEF Health and Nutrition Specialist