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The status of policy and programmes on infant and young child feeding in 40 countries

03 May 2013

Optimal breastfeeding not only saves the lives of children under 5 years, but also improves children’s quality of life. In spite of proven benefits and repeated emphasis, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding among children less than 6 months of age is only 36% globally. The Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding provided a framework for action in 10 areas, and identified the need to assess the implementation of policies and programmes in order to identify gaps and to take action to bridge them. We have utilized the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) tool to make such an assessment. The WBTi has been introduced in 81 countries and 40 of these had completed their assessment by April 2011. Their findings point out specific gaps in both the policy and programmes in all 10 areas of action identified by the tool. This shows that countries need to work in a co-ordinated manner, with clear plans and committed financial resources, to address gaps in all 10 areas of action. This can result in strong advocacy efforts as well as consensus-based action for the effective implementation of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding to enhance rates of optimal feeding practices.

3 May 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Health Policy and Planning