The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative: Implementation of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in 84 countries

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Breastfeeding could save the lives of more than 820,000 children and 20,000 women. Worldwide, despite evidence of the importance of both, only 42% women begin breastfeeding within an hour of birth, and 41% practice exclusive breastfeeding. In 2002, to mobilise action and support optimal breastfeeding, the World Health Assembly adopted the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. The WHO identified the need to assess implementation of policies and programmes at the national level and provided an assessment tool. International Baby Food Action Network Asia adapted the tool to launch the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi). The WBTi facilitates measurement of the status of implementation of policy and programmes, and stimulates local action towards positive changes. Results of assessments from 84 countries reveal lack of attention to policy in almost all areas. Repeat WBTi assessments allowed us to analyse trends that showed positive changes towards strengthening the policy and programmes to support women to be successful in breastfeeding.

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