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Somalia, 1 August 2018: Commemorating World Breastfeeding Week 2018

© UNICEF Somalia/2018/Elmi
The Minister of Health and Social Services of the Federal Government of Somalia, Hon. Fawzia Abikar Nur at the event she hosted in Mogadishu to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 1 August 2018 – The Minister of Health and Social Services, Hon. Fawzia Abikar Nur, on Wednesday 1st August, 2018 hosted an event to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate as Somalia continues to mark significant gains in exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and early initiation of breastfeeding from just over 5 per cent and 23 % in 2009 to 33 percent and 80 percent in 2017 respectively.

Available scientific evidence has found that breast milk has all the necessary nutrients for infant brain development and can increase intelligence and emotional wellbeing compared to substitutes if offered exclusively for the first six months.

It is clear that breastfeeding is not only the cornerstone of a child’s healthy development; it is also the foundation of a country’s development. Longer duration of breastfeeding protects maternal health, contributing to a reduction of breast and ovarian cancers.

At the event, Bajwa Mahboob, Chief of WASH, on behalf of UNICEF Somalia symbolically handed over to the Federal Ministry of Health a final draft bill which aims to contribute to strengthening of safe and adequate nutrition for infants and young child by protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and by regulating the marketing of certain infant foods and of feeding bottles, teats and pacifiers.

“UNICEF hopes that this symbolic handover sets in motion key next steps including, submission of draft bill to the parliament, parliament approval of the bill and approval of the final bill by the President of the Federal Government by the end of this year,” said Steven Lauwerier, UNICEF Somalia Representative. “In doing so, the country commits to supporting and promoting breastfeeding as an ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants” he added.

The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes was developed as a global public health measure and recommends restrictions on the marketing of breast milk substitutes, such as infant formula, to ensure that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and substitutes are used safely if and when needed.

Somalia has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world with one in seven Somali children dying before their fifth birthday. Rates of infant and child deaths and child malnutrition are closely linked to whether babies are breastfed and what young children are given to eat.


For more information, please contact:
Leila Abrar, Chief of Communications, OIC, UNICEF,

Mohamed Elmi, Communications Officer, UNICEF,



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