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Kyrgyzstan is one of the countries with low breastfeeding rates

Kyrgyzstan is one of the countries with low breastfeeding rates

UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) jointly with other academic institutions have conducted research “The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard” which evaluated 194 nations and found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively (given nothing but breast milk) and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent. According to UNICEFresearch in Kyrgyzstan, only 41% of children under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, and the number of children who are on predominant breastfeeding, comprises 69,5per cent.

For protection and support of breastfeeding, in Kyrgyzstan there exists the law “On protection of breastfeeding and marketing of milk substitutes”. The law was adopted in 2008, but lately there have been reported such violations of the Law as:

- Promotion and dissemination of milk substitutes in health facilities (mothers are provided with free samples, medical workers of birth facilities offer artificial formulas, heads of health facilities arrange exhibitions of milk substitutes and involve manufacturers of these artificial formulas as sponsors of scientific conferences, etc.);

- Saleofbaby formulas – milk substitutes in pharmacies located in health facilities;

- Violation of labelling (lack of labels in Kyrgyz language, texts and images are idealizing breast milk substitutes);

- Unconscientious advertising that is misleading and encouraging the use of baby formulas;

- Lack of specialized spaces for mother and child in the buildings of state authorities and local self-governance authorities, as well as in enterprises, establishments and organizations irrespective of form of ownership.

Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic together with UNICEF and the civil society implement the policy on introduction of adequate breastfeeding practice of young children, namely: attachment of the newborn child to mother’s breast within the first hour after delivery, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, supplementary feeding of children with semi-solid and solid food beginning from the end 6th month and continued breastfeeding (up to 2 years of age).

“Breastfeeding is not only the child’s first vaccine and the best source of nutrition, but also ensures protection of child’s immune system and strong psychological and emotional mother-child bonding. We strongly promote exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life as this prevents infant mortality for 7,4% per year”, - says Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan.

Breastfeeding of children for up to 2 years of age and adequate supplementary feeding from 6 months of age are the crucial interventions for improvement of child survival and decrease of mortality among children under 5 years of age for 20%. Breastfeeding not only helps children to survive but also has long-term positive effects on women’s health. It has been repeatedly proved,that in average, the IQ of breastfed children is 2,6 points higher than the IQ of children who were deprived of mother’s milk.

"Breastfeeding is a simple practice to grow the healthy generation. That is why is important to start early and pay attention to exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months. Breastfeeding has immediate benefits for children and contributes to a lifetime of good health of next generations.” says Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Kyrgyzstan, and continues, "We all - doctors and nurses, fathers and friends have a role to support the breastfeeding mothers."

The World Breastfeeding Weekis observedevery year on 1 – 7 Augustto highlight the importance of breastfeeding for survival of children. For the first time, the World Breastfeeding Week was marked in 1991 with the aim of supporting exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of child’s life.

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