UNITE FOR CHILDREN-- UNICEF

Making a Difference for Children: The Best Start in Life

Note: Pages in this section have been stored solely for archiving purposes. Information contained here refers to the 2001–2005 CPAP. Follow this link for current details about UNICEF funding requirements in Turkey.


A healthy two-year-old boy sleeps soundly in his mother’s arms

Photograph by Rana Mullan © UNICEF Turkey 2004

Only mother’s milk during the first 6 months

Rates of infant mortality are 4.6 times higher amongst infants who are not breastfed. WHO asserts that 1.5 million infant mortalities would be avoided globally every year through exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months. Tens of thousands of infant lives could be saved every year in Turkey where the average for babies who are exclusively breastfed during the first six months is 1.3 per cent -- a fraction of the global average of 39 per cent.

However, exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life is not just a matter of survival -- it is also the best way to ensure a child’s healthy growth and development since breastmilk is unquestionably the finest, freshest and cleanest source of nutrition for an infant. UNICEF is seeking to educate both new mothers and health workers about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding so that ‘the best start in life’ becomes the norm for Turkish infants.

The Situation

  • Rates of exclusive breastfeeding are dropping all over Turkey -- only 1.3 per cent of all newborns are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
  • Many new mothers are encouraged by elders, or are forced by work commitments, to wean their newborns at the earliest opportunity.
  • The misconception that formula foods are just as good as breastmilk is common.
  • Of the 63,000 children under the age of five who die from preventable diseases every year, 50,000 are under one year old.
  • Pneumonia, the risk of which is reduced by breastfeeding, is the second biggest cause of under-five mortalities.
  • Severe diarrhœa, the risk of which is also reduced by breastfeeding, is the seventh biggest cause of under-five mortalities.
  • 16 per cent of all children under the age of five in Turkey suffer from malnutrition.
  • The Baby-friendly Hospitals Initiative (BFHI) has been implemented in 62 provinces -- a total of 205 Baby-friendly hospitals and eight Baby-friendly provinces. The main aim of the BFHI is to ensure that every mother receives quality advice and support on breastfeeding from hospital staff.

The Action

Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months logo

Exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months gives children the best start in life.

  • Health workers and prospective mothers will be given breastfeeding counselling and information about the vital nutrient content of breastmilk for newborns.
  • The number of baby-friendly hospitals will be increased to include all hospitals with an annual birth rate of 1,000 or over.
  • Health workers as well as new and expectant mothers will be trained about the importance of breastfeeding.
  • A pilot project has already begun in the provinces of Diyarbakır and İstanbul which account for 16.5 per cent of Turkey’s annual birth rate of 1.5 million newborns.
  • Thousands of new mothers in Diyarbakır and İstanbul will be reached with help and advice through the formation of Mothers’ Support Groups.

The Difference

  • More children will survive.
  • Breastfed babies will have a higher resistance to disease since their immune systems will be bolstered by antibodies in their mother’s breastmilk.
  • Breastfed babies will enjoy higher levels of cognitive development.
  • Breastfeeding mothers will benefit from reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
  • All hospitals with an annual birth rate of over 1,000 will have qualified for baby-friendly status.
  • Thousands of babies and their mothers will have support on the techniques and practice of breastfeeding after leaving hospital.

Your contribution will help us make the difference!

dingbat

The unit cost of $1.20 per newborn baby will cover the cost of enough information brochures, help to train health staff and establish Mothers’ Support Groups.

See below for details on how to make a tax-free donation to the Turkish National Committee for UNICEF.

Use the ‘Support Us’ link at the foot of this page to make an online tax-free donation to the Turkish National Committee for UNICEF now. Alternatively, you can make a credit transfer through your bank to Türkiye İş Bankası, Çankaya Branch, Ankara, Branch No. 4238, Account No. 500.

 ◀ Previous page  |   ▶ Next page