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WHO Urges Health Workers To Encourage Mothers To Breastfeed

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Mother breastfeeding a baby


World Health Organisation (WHO), has urged health workers to encourage expectant mothers  to feed their babies accurately and educate them on the importance of breastfeeding after birth.

According to WHO’s twitter handle @WHO, the organisation also urged health workers to encourage skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby.

The organisation also said that the health workers should educate mothers on how to start breastfeeding their babies immediately after birth, adding that such education would improve the growth of the children.

It said breastfeeding gave children the best possible start in life, had cognitive and health benefits for babies and mothers.

It urged hospitals not to promote infant formula, bottles or teats but should train staff to support mothers on effective breastfeeding.

It also advised hospitals to assess staff knowledge and skills in order to improve breastfeeding rates around the world.

WHO said that breastfeeding babies for the first two years would save the lives of more than 820, 000 children under five years annually.

The organisation and UNICEF had earlier issued a “Ten Step Guide to Successful Breastfeeding” encouraging new mothers to breastfeed and informing health workers how best to support breastfeeding.

The guide also describes practical steps countries should take to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and new born services.

The guide which was issued in a joint statement by the two organisations on April 11, stressed that breastfeeding within the first hour of birth protects new born babies from infections and saves lives.

The organisations said infants were at greater risk of death due to diarrhea and other infections when they were only partially breastfed or not breastfed at all.

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According to UNICEF and WHO, breastfeeding improves IQ, school readiness and attendance, reduces risk of breast cancer in mothers and is associated with higher income in adult life.

The organisations said the guide was issued to support all countries in their effort to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030 to ensure standard care for mothers and babies.

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