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[afro-nets] Breastfeeding Can Save Over 1 Million Lives Yearly
- Subject: [afro-nets] Breastfeeding Can Save Over 1 Million Lives Yearly
- From: Claudio Schuftan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 31 Jul 2004 22:43:16 +0700
- User-agent: Internet Messaging Program (IMP) 3.1
BREASTFEEDING CAN SAVE OVER 1 MILLION LIVES YEARLY, UNICEF
from Vern Weitzel <email@example.com>
If more infants worldwide are given only mother's milk and no
food or formula until the age of six months, at least 1.3 mil-
lion lives could be saved this year, the United Nations Chil-
dren's Fund (UNICEF) said today.
With more than 10 million children dying annually from mainly
preventable causes like diarrhoea and pneumonia, the agency said
if every baby were exclusively breastfed for the first half-year
of life, an estimated 3,500 lives could be saved each day.
<"http://www.unicef.org">UNICEF cited these statistics in call-
ing for greater global commitment to support breastfeeding. "If
a child dies a preventable death it's because mothers and in-
fants are not getting the basic support they need," said UNICEF
chief Carol Bellamy.
Calling breastfeeding "the most natural act of mother and new-
born," she said the practice has not been properly supported
considering that it holds the key for children to develop well
in good health.
Ms. Bellamy said every mother who chooses to exclusively breast-
feed for six months has the right to services and support from
their governments, communities and families.
Breastmilk contains all the nutrients, antibodies, hormones, im-
mune factors and antioxidants that an infant needs to thrive
during the first six months of life. It also protects babies
from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections while stimulat-
ing their immune systems.
In the first two months of life, an infant who is not exclu-
sively breastfed is up to 25 times more likely to die from diar-
rhoea and four times more likely to die from pneumonia than a
non-breastfed baby, UNICEF said. Growth and development may
stall and the child stands a greater risk of obesity, heart dis-
ease and gastro-intestinal problems in later years.
Despite this evidence, only 39 per cent of babies worldwide are
being breastfed exclusively in the first six months, the agency
said. UNICEF helps governments to support breastfeeding, includ-
ing through legislation to protect against formula companies
that promote their products in such a way as to deter women from
Tomorrow marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week, with
UNICEF predicting the participation of more than 120 countries
in awareness-raising and other related activities.