聯合國兒童基金會執行主任安東尼.雷克就「國際母乳哺育周」撰寫信函

 

聯合國兒童基金會執行主任安東尼.雷克就「國際母乳哺育周」撰寫信函

國際消息 00:55
(只提供英文版本)

Hong Kong, 25 July 2014 – Giving all children the best start in life begins with breastfeeding – one of the simplest, smartest, and most cost-effective ways we have of supporting healthier children, stronger families, and sustainable growth.

(Left-right) A woman learns how to correctly hold and breastfeed her child, with help from Nurse Pascaline Bandre, at Rapadama Traditional Health Centre in the village of Rapadama in Plateau-Central Region. In partnership with the NGO Association Chant de Femmes (ACF), UNICEF supports the work of community health workers, who discuss issues related to health and nutrition with local communities. When Nurse Bandre arrived at the centre four years ago, 10 to 15 malnourished children were brought in each week. "Now we have just a few cases once in a while", she says, crediting the outreach done by community health workers sponsored by ACF. In March 2012, Burkina Faso’s rate of child mortality is the third highest in the world, the result of preventable or treatable conditions, including malnutrition. The country is one of eight in the Sahel region – also including Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and the northern parts of Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal – facing a nutrition crisis that now affects over 15 million people. Unless reached with appropriate treatment and prevention programmes, more than 1 million under-five children are at risk of dying from nutrition-related illnesses. The current crisis is the result of repeated drought-related food shortages, from which people have insufficient time to recover before being again affected. In turn, these shocks are exacerbated by chronic stunting, high rates of poverty and illiteracy and inadequate social infrastructure, including for basic child and maternal care. In Burkina Faso, nearly 100,000 under-five children are at risk of becoming severely malnourished. UNICEF requires US$120 million to fund its Sahel emergency response in 2012, of which only 32 per cent has been received to date. The European Union (EU) is one of the largest international donors to UNICEF nutrition programmes in the Sahel and in other regions. Each month, over 1,600 UNICEF-supported health facilities throughout Burkina Faso are providing tre
© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0349/Asselin

World Breastfeeding Week highlights the vital role breastfeeding plays in the lives of children and the critical importance of promoting the value of breastfeeding globally, nationally, and at the community level. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – for Life!" underscores the crucial link between breastfeeding and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

This linkage is especially clear when it comes to achieving MDG 4 – decreasing child mortality. Since 1990, the number of children under the age of 5 dying from preventable causes declined by a remarkable 47%. But nearly 7 million young children still die every year – and over 40% of those children are newborns.

Immediate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth could prevent I in 5 of these unnecessary deaths. That’s more than 500,000 children every year. More than 1,500 children every day. And breastfeeding does more than help children survive; it helps them to thrive, with benefits that last a lifetime. It is the foundation of good nutrition, reducing the risk of malnourishment in early childhood and the risk of obesity later in life. By supporting nutrition and strengthening the bond between mother and child, breastfeeding also supports healthy brain development. This, in tum, may help prevent stunting — a global tragedy that affects millions of children, undermining both their physical and cognitive development and the future health of their societies.
Knowing all this, it is hard to believe that fewer than half of the world’s newborns benefit from breast feeding. Even fewer are exclusively breastfed for the first six months. To shift this trend, we need to change social practices, working first and foremost with communities and families to encourage more mothers to breast feed. And we must work across sectors — nutrition, maternal, newborn and child health, early childhood development, and communication for development – to develop a more integrated approach, thus increasing the effectiveness of all our interventions to promote breastfeeding. Two women breastfeed their infants during a ceremony to commemorate the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week 2011, in the UNICEF-supported maternity ward at Isaie Jeanty Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the capital. The Week – a joint initiative of UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and other NGOs – promotes breastfeeding, the most cost-effective preventive intervention to reduce under-five mortality. In December 2011, Haiti and its approximately 4.3 million children continue to recover from the 12 January 2010 earthquake that killed some 220,000 people, displaced more than 1.6 million and further disrupted the country’s already inadequate infrastructure. Progress has been substantial: a new national government is in place; about half of the mounds of rubble have been cleared; almost two thirds of those displaced by the quake have moved out of crowded camps; and the country’s health, education and other core services are being rebuilt on a stronger foundation. Still, the country remains a fragile and impoverished state, requiring international support. Working with multiple international and national partners, UNICEF continues to address the emergency needs of children, while focusing on building the Government’s capacity to uphold and sustain children’s rights. In nutrition, an unprecedented expansion of preventive and treatment services for childhood under-nutrition has begun to address the pre-quake ‘silent crisis’ of chronic malnutrition. In health, routine child immunizations increased to almost 80 per cent in the past year; medicines and training for midwives have increased; HIV prevention and treatment services, including to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of the virus, are expanding; and a national emergency cholera treatment response was implemented (in response to the late 2010 cholera outbreak). Emergency WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) services, including for ch
© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-2063/Dormino
Global momentum to support breastfeeding is growing, through major international advocacy efforts such as A Promise Renewed, to reduce preventable child mortality, and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN), to reduce stunting. And the recent Global Newborn Action plan includes increasing breastfeeding counselling and support as an essential part of community maternal and newborn care programmes.
This World Breastfeeding Week comes on the heels of the World Cup – which united millions in the spirit of sport. Let’s come together again in the spirit of progress and score for children by making breastfeeding a global priority – to help give every child the best possible start in life.