On the individual level, breastfeeding significantly boosts the health of children and mothers, while saving family income. But the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) said when this is amplified at the country level, breastfeeding contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty, reduces the burden of health costs (by preventing all forms of malnutrition) and ensures food security for babies and young children in times of crisis.
“It is a universal solution that gives everyone a fair start in life and lays the foundation for good health and survival of children and women,” said the Association.
2018 World Breastfeeding Week, which runs from the 1 to 7 August, is emphasising breastfeeding as ‘the foundation of life’ and highlighting the advantages of improving breastfeeding for communities and countries.
The campaign, co-ordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), identifies breastfeeding as an essential strategy to combat the impacts of inequality, crises and poverty.
ADSA spokesperson - Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, lecturer and researcher at Stellenbosch University - Associate Professor Lisanne du Plessis, said these are all major issues across South Africa. “Yet, we remain one of the countries with the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world,” she said.