The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative: Implementation of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in 84 countries
Breastfeeding could save the lives of more than 820,000 children and 20,000 women. Worldwide, despite evidence of the importance of both, only 42% women begin breastfeeding within an hour of birth, and 41% practice exclusive breastfeeding. In 2002, to mobilise action and support optimal breastfeeding, the World Health Assembly adopted the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. The WHO identified the need to assess implementation of policies and programmes at the national level and provided an assessment tool. International Baby Food Action Network Asia adapted the tool to launch the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi). The WBTi facilitates measurement of the status of implementation of policy and programmes, and stimulates local action towards positive changes. Results of assessments from 84 countries reveal lack of attention to policy in almost all areas. Repeat WBTi assessments allowed us to analyse trends that showed positive changes towards strengthening the policy and programmes to support women to be successful in breastfeeding.
KeywordsBreastfeeding Global strategy Infant and young child feeding Policy and programmes Nutrition Child health
We thank all the regional coordinators of IBFAN for leading this work. We are extremely grateful to all the country coordinators for undertaking the WBTi assessment and sharing their reports. We thank Ms.Alison Linnecar (Convener, IBFAN global working group on chemical and microbiological contamination of infant feeding products) and Ms. Irena Zakarija-Grkovic (Country Coordinator IBFAN-Croatia) for reviewing the paper and for their valuable input. We acknowledge and thank the staff at BPNI for their IT and logistical support. We appreciate the support of the Swedish International Development Agency and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
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