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Breastfeeding Critical For Child Survival In Humanitarian Emergencies

Devex: Breastfeeding in emergencies: A question of survival
Francesco Branca, director of nutrition for health and development at the WHO, and Werner Schultink, associate director in the program division of UNICEF in New York and chief of nutrition

“…Breastfeeding becomes … critical for survival in humanitarian emergencies, where young children are among the most vulnerable. They face risks from diarrheal diseases, pneumonia, and undernutrition. Overcrowding, food insecurity, unsafe water, poor sanitation, and overburdened health systems all contribute to a more dangerous situation for infants and children. Failure to fully protect breastfeeding in these circumstances dramatically worsens the situation. … At [this] week’s first [World Humanitarian Summit (WHS)] in Istanbul, we must make sure that breastfeeding is considered in funding, planning, and implementing emergency responses. … Promoting and supporting breastfeeding is a perfect example of something that countries can do to, not only save lives in emergencies, but to give children who are having such a difficult start in life a much better chance for a brighter future” (5/20).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.