United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has revealed that only 39 per cent of children aged less than six months were exclusively breastfed in 2012 even as it lamented that Nigeria has made no improvement over many years.
Some of the lowest rates in the world are in Somalia, Chad and South Africa.
“This global figure has improved very little for the past several decades, due in part to large countries where the breastfeeding rate is low, and to the general lack of a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers,” it noted.
In a statement on this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Geeta Rao Gupta noted that countries with supportive policies and comprehensive programmes that reach all communities have been able to increase their breastfeeding rates significantly.
In a bid to boost such low rates in the world’s most populous country, UNICEF and the National Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health in May launched a “10m2of Love” campaign to locate, register, certify and publicise breastfeeding rooms in order to raise awareness and support for breastfeeding.
The ED noted that such examples reflect insufficient global leadership on breastfeeding, as it continues to be undervalued relative to its importance in the life of child.