A recent report by WHO and UNICEF says that no country is fully meeting the recommended standards for breastfeeding.
Produced in collaboration with the The Global Breastfeeding Collective the report, which looked at 194 countries, stated that only 40% of babies under the age of 6 months are exclusively breastfed and just 23 countries had breastfeeding rates above 60%.
The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard was produced as part of World Breastfeeding week, during the first week of August, which also showed that an annual investment of only US$4.70 per new born could increase global breastfeeding rates by 50% by 2025.
Director General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom, said: “Breastmilk works like a baby’s first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive.”
The report ‘Nurturing the Health and Wealth of Nations: The Investment Case for Breastfeeding’ states that in meeting the global breastfeeding target 520,000 children under the age of five would survive.
UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, adds: “Breastfeeding is one of the most effective – and cost-effective – investments nations can make in the health of their youngest members and the future health of their economies and societies.
“By failing to invest in breastfeeding, we are failing mothers and their babies – and paying a double price in lost lives and in lost opportunity.”
When it comes to investing in breastfeeding, the world’s largest emerging economies, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria, lack of breastfeeding investment results in an estimated 236,000 child deaths per year and an economic loss of US$119 billion.
Every year, lower and middle-income countries spend approximately US$205 million on the promotion of breastfeeding.
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