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Matern Child Nutr. 2016 Jul;12(3):375-80. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12335. Epub 2016 May 10.

Scaling up breastfeeding programmes in a complex adaptive world.

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Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit, Brook Building, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.


The 2016 Breastfeeding Lancet Series continues to provide unequivocal evidence regarding the numerous benefits that optimal breastfeeding practices offer to children and women worldwide and the major savings that improving these practices can have as a result of their major public health benefits. Unfortunately, this knowledge remains underutilized as there has been little progress scaling up effective breastfeeding programmes globally. Improving the uptake and scaling up of effective national breastfeeding programmes that are potent enough to improve exclusive breastfeeding duration should be a top priority for all countries. Complex analysis systems longitudinal research is needed to understand how best to empower decision makers to achieve this goal through well-validated participatory decision-making tools to help their countries assess baseline needs, including costs, as well as progress with their scaling-up efforts. Sound systems thinking frameworks and scaling-up models are now available to guide and research prospectively future scaling-up efforts that can be replicated, with proper adaptations, across countries.

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