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Table of Contents   
EDITORIAL COMMENTARY  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 525-526
Promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding for ensuring sustainable development


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding for ensuring sustainable development. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:525-6

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding for ensuring sustainable development. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Nov 15];10:525-6. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/525/213170
Dear Editor,

Globally, promotion of breastfeeding has been ranked as one of the most effective and inexpensive strategies to save and improve the lives of children, and ensure long-term benefits for the infants and their mothers.[1],[2] Infact, it plays a crucial role in saving the lives of more than 0.8 million under-five children each year, with almost 90% of them being under 6 months of age.[2] To acknowledge its importance in the different health dimensions of an infant and a woman, the global stakeholders have aimed to improve the global prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended period up to at least 50%.[2],[3]

Indeed, realizing the links between breastfeeding and accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is extremely important to promote breastfeeding to enable directly or indirectly the accomplishment of at least 6 SDGs.[2],[4] It is a critical element to bring about an end to hunger, improve nutrition and promote health and wellbeing of people (SDG 2 and 3); and improve education and lifelong learning (SDG 4). It can be achieved by promoting early childhood (physical and cognition) development so that better learning and literacy outcomes can be obtained.[4]

In addition, the so called advancement in health and learning is expected to upgrade the chances of accomplishment of goals dealing with ending poverty, encouraging financial growth, and minimizing inequalities (SDG 1, 8 and 10).[4] Also, breastfeeding can significantly improve the income of people and support economic growth by reducing the health expenditure, which occurrs because of the management of ailments resulting due to reduced cognition or infectious diseases or early onset of lifestyle diseases.[1],[2] Furthermore, it can even help to achieve gender equality (SDG5) by ensuring birth-spacing and empowering them to have better reproductive choice, and is extremely important in nations and settings with restricted access contraceptives or appropriate counseling.[4]

Moreover, the global stakeholders have advocated that any form of investment in the promotion of breastfeeding will not only bring about direct improvement in the health standards of the child and the mother, but will even lay down a significant foundation in a nation's development and improving the well-being of the general population.[1],[2],[3] Despite all these facts, it is a matter of grave public health concern and even shame that breastfeeding rates have remained stagnant in the last two decades.[1],[4]

It is quite alarming that millions of children are devoid of breastfeeding, which can be a significant boost to their health, survival and development.[2],[3] At the same time, the health sector has failed badly to ensure that all the women receive the desired information and the support to ensure that they can successfully breastfeed their child.[1],[2],[3]

To counter the misconception that mother's milk is not adequate for her child and to deal with the lack of awareness among the women, the national government of Vietnam in collaboration with different international agencies has initiated a program since last 7 years to eventually improve breastfeeding rates.[5] The program is known as “Alive and Thrive”, and aims to create an awareness about different aspects of breastfeeding through advertisements and the ways in which lactating mothers can access support to improve the breastfeeding.[5] Infact, the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding has increased from 20% in 2009 to 62% in regions with intensive programs.[5] Further, the government is also supporting the initiative by prohibiting marketing of breast milk substitutes.[5] This is a live example that if there is a desire to work, and stakeholders show their commitment, even significant progress can be achieved.[2],[4],[5]

To conclude, a fast and significant progress towards accomplishment of global development goals can be ensured, if policy makers and other stakeholders strengthen ongoing activities and mobilize resources to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.

Acknowledgement

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

1.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Exclusive breastfeeding and stakeholders: Only together we can make it work. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:127-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
World Health Organization. Infant and young child feeding-Fact sheet N 342; 2016. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs342/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 August 1].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Prell C, Koletzko B, Breastfeeding and complementary feeding. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2016;113:435-44.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
UNICEF, WHO Breastfeeding: A key to sustainable development; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/events/2016/2016-world-breastfeeding-week-letter.pdf. [Last accessed on 2016 August 3].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. Viet Nam breastfeeding campaign normalizes practice, improves rates; 2016. Available from: http://who.int/features/2016/Viet-Nam-breastfeeding-campaign/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 August 3]..  Back to cited text no. 5
    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.213170

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