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Health experts emphasise indispensability of breast milk in child survival

Aug 16, 2016, 11:07 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Ahead of the annual World Breastfeeding Week, 1 - 7 August, stakeholders in The Gambia have called a press briefing where it was emphasised that breastfeeding is the foundation of a child survival.

The forum was organised by the National Nutrient Agency (NaNA), UN System in The Gambia, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare on Friday at NaNA hall.

This year’s theme is ‘Breastfeeding: A key to sustainable development’.

Speaking on the occasion, NaNA executive director, Pa Modou Phaal, said The Gambia started celebrating the breastfeeding week in 1993.

Mr Phaal also encouraged every mother to adopt the culture of breastfeeding saying it is the foundation of a child survival.

Delivering a joint WHO/UNICEF statement, Alpha Jallow said breastfeeding is one of the most cost effective ways to save and improve the lives of children everywhere as it has lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers.

“It is clear that breastfeeding is not only the cornerstone of children’s healthy development, it is also foundation of a country’s development,” he said.  “In fact, supporting breastfeeding is one of the smartest investments countries can make in the wellbeing of their citizens.”

Mr Jallow cited the Lancet Breastfeeding Series as saying improving breastfeeding practices makes the world healthier, smarter, and more equal.

He said there are well-established evidences that underscored the links between investing in breastfeeding and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal 2 and 3. 

Breastfeeding is also one of the key to reducing under-five mortality, Jallow said, adding that the health benefits associated with optimal breastfeeding could save billions of dollars in healthcare expenses each year by greatly reducing hospital admissions for infectious diseases.