Breastfeeding Week, 1 – 7 October 2015
PRISHTINA/, 01 October 2015 — The UNICEF Office in Pristina in cooperation with Ministry of Health and Kosova Health Foundation (KHF) is launching on 01 October 2015, within a joint public event, the 2015 Breastfeeding Week (01 – 07 October 2015).
The event will be marked in Prizren, at the main Family Health Center, on 1 st of October 2015, starting from 10.00 and followed with the visit to maternity in Prizren, where mothers will be encouraged to practice breastfeeding, followed by a series of activities raising awareness on the importance of breastfeeding. Ministry of Health Officials, representatives of UNICEF, representatives of hospital and local health authorities, mothers and fathers who will discuss during the event about the role of breastfeeding to ensure child well-being and a healthy start in life and the importance of family support for breastfeeding of children.
The recent 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) revealed that breastfeeding and child feeding are inadequate, children from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities being the most affected. The Breastfeeding Week is an opportunity to highlight the vital role breastfeeding plays in the lives of children.
According to MICS 2014, almost half of the women with a live birth in the last 2 years put their last new-born to the breast within one hour of birth, although early initiation of breastfeeding is a very important step to ensure healthy start in life. And although mothers are recommended to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child's first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health, only 40% of women (2 in 5 women) practiced exclusive breastfeeding of their babies up to six months of age.
Ms. Laila Omar Gad, Head of UNICEF Office, stated that the “UNICEF strongly urges central and local institutions, families, civil society organizations, to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, as breastfeeding reduces inequities. From the first hour of a baby’s life through age two or later, breastfeeding protects all children everywhere – girls or boys, rich or a poor – against illness and death.”
Globally, adequate breastfeeding practices could have saved almost 12% lives in children under 5 years (800,000 deaths). Breastfeeding reduces the risk of non-communicable diseases, including breast and ovarian cancers in women, childhood leukaemia and obesity in children. UNICEF will continue to work with partners to further promote and protect breastfeeding in order to offer each child a healthy start in life!
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.