Breastfeeding week 2022: a snapshot from Scaling Up Nutrition Countries
From 1-7 August 2022, the world celebrated Breastfeeding Week with the theme, "Step up for Breastfeeding - Educate and Support".
The goal was to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding as a fundamental aspect of good nutrition, food security, and the reduction of inequalities.
This theme translated into a wide range of activities taking place in Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) countries.
In Nigeria, the Minister of State for Health led a symposium at the ministerial level to discuss how to strengthen the capacity of health workers to support breastfeeding and promote breastfeeding-friendly environments. A whole series of activities also took place during the week to advocate for breastfeeding at all levels of society.
In Haiti, the Ministry for Public Health and Population developed a brochure to highlight the benefits of breastfeeding, including information on how breastfeeding can help reduce child mortality.
São Tomé and Príncipe also organized a whole range of activities, including the broadcasting of a powerful testimony from a young mother who has moved to exclusive breastfeeding after that her child reacted badly to prower milk. Thanks to the support received from a breastfeeding consultant, she has moved to exclusive breastfeeding, and her child now thrives.
Sierra Leone celebrated Breastfeeding Week through a national launch, including a speech by the vice-president, media training and talk shows, and popular rallies in the streets of Freetown.
These are just a few of the thousands of events that took place around the world to promote breastfeeding.
The SUN Movement encourages and supports countries in advocating for exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age and continued breastfeeding, together with appropriate and nutritious food, up to two years of age.
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. Babies who are fed nothing but breastmilk from birth through their first 6 months of life get the best start. Exclusively breastfed babies are 14 times less likely to die than babies who are not breastfed.
Breastfeeding is also cost-effective and benefits not just mothers and children, but also entire economies. It is estimated that every $1 invested in breastfeeding yields $35 in economic returns.
However, nearly 2 out of 3 infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months—a rate that has not improved in 2 decades, according to the World Health Organization.
This year’s World Breastfeeding Week came at a critical time for the SUN Movement's 65 countries currently focusing on safeguarding and advancing national nutrition efforts while dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing global food and nutrition crisis.