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Nutrients. 2012 Aug;4(8):990-1014. Epub 2012 Aug 14.

Breastfeeding promotion, support and protection: review of six country programmes.

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United Nations Children's Fund, 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA.


Reviews of programmes in Bangladesh, Benin, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Uzbekistan sought to identify health policy and programmatic factors that influenced breastfeeding practices during a 10 to 15 year period. Exclusive breastfeeding rates and trends were analysed in six countries in general and from an equity perspective in two of them. Success factors and challenges were identified in countries with improved and stagnated rates respectively. The disaggregated data analysis showed that progress may be unequal in population subgroups, but if appropriately designed and implemented, a programme can become a "health equalizer" and eliminate discrepancies among different subgroups. Success requires commitment, supportive policies, and comprehensiveness of programmes for breastfeeding promotion, protection and support. Community-based promotion and support was identified as a particularly important component. Although health workers' training on infant feeding support and counselling was prioritized, further improvement of interpersonal counselling and problem solving skills is needed. More attention is advised for pre-service education, including a stronger focus on clinical practice, to ensure knowledge and skills among all health workers. Large-scale communication activities played a significant role, but essential steps were often underemphasized, including identifying social norms and influencing factors, ensuring community participation, and testing of approaches and messages.


IYCF; breastfeeding; equity ; infant feeding; nutrition

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