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Joint statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the occasion of World…

Aug 2nd, 2021

At the start of this year, governments, donors, civil society and the private sector united to launch the Nutrition for Growth Year of Action. The Year of Action is a historic opportunity to transform the way the world tackles the global commitment to eliminate child malnutrition.

Breastfeeding is central to realising this commitment.

Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, followed by exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for up to two years or beyond offer a powerful line of defence against all forms of child malnutrition, including wasting and obesity. Breastfeeding also acts as babies first vaccine, protecting them against many common childhood illnesses.

While there has been progress in breastfeeding rates in the last four decades with a 50 per cent increase in the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding globally the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the fragility of those gains.

In many countries, the pandemic has caused significant disruptions in breastfeeding support services, while increasing the risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. Several countries have reported that producers of baby foods have compounded these risks by invoking unfounded fears that breastfeeding can transmit COVID-19 and marketing their products as a safer alternative to breastfeeding.

This years World Breastfeeding Week, under its theme Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility is a time to revisit the commitments made at the start of this year by prioritizing breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and babies. This includes:

As we approach the UN Food Systems Summit in September and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in December, governments, donors, civil society and the private sector all have an opportunity to make smart investments and commitments to tackle the global malnutrition crisis including protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding through stronger policies, programmes and actions.

Now is not the time to lower our ambitions. Now is the time to aim high. We are committed to making the Nutrition for Growth Year of Action a success by ensuring that every childs right to nutritious, safe and affordable food and adequate nutrition is realized from the beginning of life, starting with breastfeeding.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the worlds toughest places, to reach the worlds most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit http://www.unicef.org

Follow UNICEF onTwitter,Facebook,InstagramandYouTube

About WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with194 Member States, across six regions and from149offices,to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus,visitwww.who.intand follow WHO onTwitter,Facebook,Instagram,LinkedIn,TikTok,Pinterest,Snapchat,YouTube,Twitch

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Joint statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the occasion of World...

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