The Developing-8 countries (D-8) Organization for Economic Cooperation, has called for improved investment in low- and middle-income countries alike, to promote breastfeeding.
The call comes as Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2019 Breastfeeding Week, usually marked from August 1-7.
The D-8 countries; Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, also tasked its members and the world at large to embrace breastfeeding, as a universal solution that provides a fair start for every child in life and improves health, well being and survival of women and children.
In a statement signed by its Special Adviser and Head Health and Social Protection secretariat, Dr. Ado Muhammad, the D-8 emphasised the need to raise awareness of the links between breastfeeding and Sustainable Development Goals.
“Improving breastfeeding practices is important to us in the D-8 HSP because it makes the world healthier, smarter, and more equal. Our goal is to support our member states to reach the Health SDGs and breastfeeding is a critical key in achieving it, especially the SDG 2 and SDG3 which include ending hunger, improving nutrition and promoting health and well being,” he stated.
The theme for the 2019 breastfeeding week; “Empower Parents Enable Breastfeeding”, focuses on the benefits of breastfeeding for individuals, families and societies, which includes ending preventable child deaths, improving maternal and child health, boosting educational attainment, and increasing productivity globally.
According to Dr. Ado “Breastfeeding is one of the keys to reducing under-five mortality, saves more lives and is cost effective, so we consider it as an easy health innovation and best practice that could reduce infant and child mortality as well as improve family planning.”
Meanwhile the World Bank’s new Investment Framework for Nutrition estimates that every dollar invested in promoting breastfeeding can generate a return of $35 in economic benefits; this means that breastfeeding benefits not only individual children and families, but also the entire economy.
To achieve its breastfeeding promotion goals, the D-8 HSP has encouraged its member countries to align with the programs that promote breastfeeding as a cost-effective way to save and improve the lives of children everywhere, yielding lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers.