UNICEF laments global breastfeeding failure
No country in the world fully meets recommended standards for breastfeeding, a new report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective revealed.
The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which evaluated 194 nations, found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months were breastfed exclusively (given nothing but breast milk) and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent.
Evidence showed that breastfeeding has cognitive and health benefits for both infants and their mothers. It is especially critical during the first six months of life, helping prevent diarrhea and pneumonia, two major causes of death in infants. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancer, two leading causes of death among women.
Director General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that, breastfeeding gives babies the best possible start in life, while adding that breast milk works like a baby’s first vaccine.