CPV: Breastfeeding babies immediately after birth can prevent a significant number of neonatal deaths in developing countries, said UNICEF on August 1, at the start of World Breastfeeding Week, 1-7 August 2007.
This year’s theme: “Breastfeeding: the first hour, early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding can save more than one million babies” offers an excellent opportunity to draw global attention to the important role that breastfeeding plays in saving lives of infants.
“More than one third of child deaths occur during the first fragile month of life,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman. “Early breastfeeding provides critical nutrients, protects infants against deadly diseases and fosters growth and development.”
UNICEF estimates that exclusive breastfeeding to the age of six months could prevent the deaths of 1.3 million children under the age of five each year.
Vietnam has promoted breastfeeding since the early 1980s. The country has also adopted policies on exclusive breastfeeding to at least six months of age as part of its national nutrition strategy and advocated the initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour after birth.
According to UNICEF Viet Nam Health and Nutrition Chief, Marjatta Tolvanen-Ojutkangas, breastfeeding is one of the most effective interventions to save lives of young children, contributing to prevent 13% of all under 5 deaths.
UNICEF is committed to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding and it has been working closely with the Reproductive Health Department of the Ministry of Health, National Institute for Nutrition, the World Health Organization and other partners on a number of initiatives to advocate and further promote breastfeeding practice in Viet Nam.
World Breastfeeding Week was first celebrated in 1992 and is now observed in over 120 countries by UNICEF and its partners, including the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and the World Health Organization.
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