New Delhi: In five of the world’s largest emerging economies, including India, lack of investment in breastfeeding results in an estimated 2,36,000 child deaths per year coupled with an economic loss of USD 119 billion, a report on Global Breastfeeding said.
According to the report prepared by the UNICEF and WHO in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, a new initiative to increase global breastfeeding rates, no country in the world fully meets the recommended standards for breastfeeding.
It said the investment in breastfeeding was far too low in five of the world’s largest emerging economies — China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria.
Each year, governments in lower and middle-income countries spend approximately USD 250 million on breastfeeding promotion and donors provide only an additional USD 85 million, the report said.
The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which evaluated 194 nations, found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent.
The scorecard was released yesterday alongside a new analysis demonstrating that an annual investment of only USD 4.70 per newborn was required to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months to 50 per cent by 2025.
The Global Breastfeeding Collective called upon countries to increase funding to raise breastfeeding rates from birth till two years.
It also urged the countries to enact paid family leave and workplace breastfeeding policies, strengthen links between health facilities and communities, and encourage community networks that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
The Collective also stressed on strengthening the monitoring systems that track the progress of policies, programmes and funding towards achieving both national and global breastfeeding targets.