Kyrgyzstan is one of the countries with low breastfeeding rates

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In Kyrgyzstan, violation of the law on breastfeeding has led to the situation when more than half of the children under 6 months are not exclusively breastfed 

Bishkek, 1 August 2017 –UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) jointly with other academic institutions have conducted research “The Global Breastfeeding Scorecard” which evaluated 194 nations and found that only 40 per cent of children younger than six months are breastfed exclusively (given nothing but breast milk) and only 23 countries have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent. According to UNICEF research in Kyrgyzstan, only 41% of children under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, and the number of children who are on predominant breastfeeding, comprises 69,5 per cent.   

For protection and support of breastfeeding, in Kyrgyzstan there exists the law “On protection of breastfeeding and marketing of milk substitutes”. The law was adopted in 2008, but lately there have been reported such violations of the Law as:   

-  Promotion and dissemination of milk substitutes in health facilities (mothers are provided with free samples, medical workers of birth facilities offer artificial formulas, heads of health facilities arrange exhibitions of milk substitutes and involve manufacturers of these artificial formulas as sponsors of scientific conferences, etc.);

- Sale of baby formulas – milk substitutes in pharmacies located in health facilities;

- Violation of labelling (lack of labels in Kyrgyz language, texts and images are idealizing breast milk substitutes);

- Unconscientious advertising that is misleading and encouraging the use of baby formulas;

- Lack of specialized spaces for mother and child in the buildings of state authorities and local self-governance authorities, as well as in enterprises, establishments and organizations irrespective of form of ownership.

Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic together with UNICEF and the civil society implement the policy on introduction of adequate breastfeeding practice of young children, namely: attachment of the newborn child to mother’s breast within the first hour after delivery, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, supplementary feeding of children with semi-solid and solid food beginning from the end 6th month and continued breastfeeding (up to 2 years of age).      

“Breastfeeding is not only the child’s first vaccine and the best source of nutrition, but also ensures protection of child’s immune system and strong psychological and emotional mother-child bonding.  We strongly promote exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life as this prevents infant mortality for 7,4% per year”, - says Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative in Kyrgyzstan. 

Breastfeeding of children for up to 2 years of age and adequate supplementary feeding from 6 months of age are the crucial interventions for improvement of child survival and decrease of mortality among children under 5 years of age for 20%. Breastfeeding not only helps children to survive but also has long-term positive effects on women’s health. It has been repeatedly proved, that in average, the IQ of breastfed children is 2,6 points higher than the IQ of children who were deprived of mother’s milk.

"Breastfeeding is a simple practice to grow the healthy generation. That is why is important to start early and pay attention to exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months. Breastfeeding has immediate benefits for children and contributes to a lifetime of good health of next generations.” says Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Kyrgyzstan, and continues, "We all - doctors and nurses, fathers and friends have a role to support the breastfeeding mothers."

The World Breastfeeding Week is observed every year on 1 – 7 August to highlight the importance of breastfeeding for survival of children. For the first time, the World Breastfeeding Week was marked in 1991 with the aim of supporting exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of child’s life.

About the Global Breastfeeding Scorecard

The Scorecard compiles data from countries all over the world on the status of seven priorities set by the Global Breastfeeding Collective to increase the rate of breastfeeding.

The 23 countries that have achieved exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 per cent are: Bolivia, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Eritrea, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Micronesia, Federated States of Nauru, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, São Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Zambia.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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About the WHO Regional Office for Europe

The primary role of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations’ system. The WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) is one of WHO’s six regional offices around the world. Through offices in 29 countries, 3 technical centres, and in the main office in Copenhagen, Denmark, WHO/Europe staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people.

For further information, please contact: Mavliuda Dzhaparova, Communications Officer, UNICEF, tel: (0312) 611211 (ext. 288), email: mdzhaparova@unicef.org