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Global Community Should Allocate More Resources For Efforts Promoting Breastfeeding

Noting the observance of World Breastfeeding Week from August 1 to 7, Arun Gupta, co-founder and central coordinator of the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India, provides statistics about breastfeeding globally, discusses the health benefits for newborns and examines a lack of international funding for breastfeeding initiatives in a Devex opinion piece. “When it comes to funding, it is hardly there for any of the [strategies that have proven effective],” he states, noting, “International funding, for example has been largely driven by food aid for therapeutic food or micronutrient supplements. This is because of market-driven policies and programs.” He asks, “So where should the donor money go?” and writes, “First, to protecting breastfeeding from pernicious commercial influences, which is critical.” He continues, “Next is promotion. The most common reason for women to adopt artificial feeding is perceived insufficiency of their breast milk for the baby,” adding, “Third is support. Breastfeeding can’t succeed if mother and baby are away from each other. Improving maternity benefits and encouraging breastfeeding at work must be encouraged.” Finally, he writes, “[I]t should be viewed as women’s right. Breastfeeding is a public health priority requiring social, political, legal and financial interventions.” He concludes, “All countries, donors and development agencies should allocate at least 10 percent of the child budget to strategies for increasing breastfeeding. Otherwise, the global community and the world at large will fail in supporting women” (8/1).