Exclusive Breastfeeding during the First Six Months 2001–2005

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 programmes in Turkey.

Exclusive Breastfeeding during the First Six Months logo © UNICEF Turkey 2003General Directorate of Mother and Child Health and Family Planning logo © Ministry of Health, TurkeyTurkuaz logo © Coca-Cola, Turkey

The campaign enjoys public and private sector support: Turkuaz, the Coca-Cola water brand, promotes the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding on it’s web site.

About the Campaign

The Exclusive Breastfeeding During the First 6 Months campaign was launched jointly by the Ministry of Health (MOH), UNICEF and Turquaz with the aim of improving infant survival rates and child health throughout the country.

Throughout the campaign, health workers and prospective mothers will be informed about the vital nutrient qualities of breastmilk for newborns, breastfeeding will be promoted through training at various levels and the number of baby-friendly hospitals will be increased. The first year of the campaign will cover the provinces of İstanbul and Diyarbakır where 240,000 babies are born each year. Within the year ahead, hundreds of health workers will be trained, thousands of mothers will benefit from awareness-raising activities and tens of thousands of infants will be reached. The campaign will be gradually expanded to cover other provinces.

Campaign Targets

Objectives of the Exclusive Breastfeeding During the First 6 Months campaign include training health workers and new and expectant mothers about the important advantages of breastfeeding; increasing the number of baby-friendly hospitals and extending the campaign to other provinces; ensuring that all hospitals with maternity wards in İstanbul and Diyarbakır are qualified for baby-friendly status and that both provinces become baby friendly.

Targets for İstanbul

The priority is to ensure that seventy health centres and six districts are certified ‘Baby-friendly’.

Targets for Diyarbakır

Diyarbakır has no baby-friendly hospital at present so the primary focus of the campaign will be to convert the Maternity Hospital, the Child Hospital, the SSK Hospital and the University Hospital into Baby-friendly hospitals and to certify the province as Baby-friendly.

Formation of Mothers’ Support Groups

The plan is to reach thousands of new mothers in İstanbul and Diyarbakır within the first year of the campaign and to train and support them and their helpers in breastfeeding techniques. Mothers who have successfully breastfed their babies are encouraged to share their experience and to support breastfeeding mothers in the groups.

Campaign Partners

The campaign is organised jointly by Turquaz, the General Directorate of Mother and Child Health and Family Planning (Ministry of Health) and UNICEF.


The campaign will be supported by a promotional documentary with voluntary appearances by celebrities including Hülya Koçyiğit and Berna Laçin as well as by posters and advertisements.

The Situation in Turkey

  • Only 1.3% of all newborns are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
  • 25% of all children under five years of age suffer malnutrition.
  • Approximately 15% of the population of Turkey are under five years old. 63,000 of these children die from preventable diseases every year. Out of this figure, 50,000 are children under one year old.
  • According to the findings of the 1998 Turkey Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS), although breastfeeding is common during the first months, it drops to 55% by the end of the first year.
  • In Turkey, pneumonia and diarrhoea are the leading causes of mortality for children under the age of five. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months considerably prevents the risk of death from these diseases.
  • Under the Baby-friendly Hospitals Initiative (BFHI) which was launched in 1991 by the MOH with the support of UNICEF, 204 hospitals in the country received breastfeeding consultancy training from the Ministry by 2003. A further 184 hospitals received training during 2003.
  • The number of Baby-Friendly Hospitals rose from 141 to 206 during the course of this year. Another 233 first step health facilities and eight administrative provinces have also been accorded Baby-friendly status.

Read our Factsheet on Breastfeeding

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