Kenyan Community's Plan for Breastfeeding Exclusively

Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, is vital for child growth and survival. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. This is because breast milk has adequate amounts of nutrients and water required for healthy growth as well as immune factors required for the development of the infants immune system in the first 4-6 months of life.

Other benefits of breastfeeding include protection against common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, and infant death. Scaling up exclusive breastfeeding can prevent 823,000 child deaths every year, and protect against diabetes.

One initiative to address varying breastfeeding patterns is the baby friendly hospital initiative. Launched in 1991, it aims to scale up 10 interventions in maternity facilities to support successful breastfeeding. The initiative has been effective in promoting exclusive breastfeeding during the first weeks, but not as effective in sustaining it through to the recommended six months, writes Antonina Mutoro And Elizabeth Kimani-Murage for The Conversation.

To mark World Breastfeeding Week, in a joint statement by the Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore and the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have urged countries to ensure the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes - established to protect mothers from aggressive marketing practices by the baby food industry - is fully implemented by governments, health workers and industry.

InFocus

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