Help make breastfeeding protection, promotion, support and Safe Motherhood a priority for the G-8 and G-20 meetings June, 2010
Early and exclusive breastfeeding reduces child mortality and malnutrition.
Safe Motherhood support is critical to improve maternal health and reduce maternal deaths related to childbirths.
The G-8 G-20 meetings to be held in Canada will focus on the Maternal Newborn Child Health Initiative.
The objective of the Maternal Newborn Child Initiative is to give momentum to the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5 aimed at reducing the outrageous global rates of maternal and child deaths, malnutrition and illness.
MDG Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Target: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-fives mortality rate.
MDG Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Target: Reduce by two thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality rate.
Breastfeeding, early and exclusive, is well documented as the most effective and least costly intervention to reduce mortality rates for children under the age of five years.
Nearly all mothers can breastfeed. Adequate societal, nutritional and health care system supports are important to ensure that all women are facilitated to breastfeed their children. Important support measures include:
- Implementation of the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) in all countries. The BFI provides all mothers with adequate prenatal and post natal supports for early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding. Early breastfeeding, within the first hour after birth, ensures that newborn infants receive the critical immunological protection of colostrum;
- Adequate maternity benefits to protect a mother’s recovery from childbirth and to enhance a mother’s capacity to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue to two years and beyond;
- Meaningful implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly Resolutions for the protection and support of a mother’s right to breastfeed. Implementations through regulatory mechanisms which are monitored and enforced are essential to protect breastfeeding from the undermining effects of artificial feeding promotions.
32% of under fives deaths are due to diarrheal disease and acute respiratory disease. Both are prevented by early and exclusive breastfeeding. The Lancet series on Child Survival (2003) have noted that 13 percent of under fives deaths can be reduced by the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding. As well the WHO publication Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva, 2009, notes: Sub-optimal breastfeeding contributes to 1,000,000 deaths (3.7% of total deaths) in low-income countries. Childhood underweight contributes to 2,000,000 deaths (7.8% of total deaths in low-income countries).
Let Canada’s politicians know that the protection, promotion and support for breastfeeding and maternal supports for Safe Motherhood are critical measures to be included on the G-8 Maternal Newborn Child Health Initiative agenda. Maternal breastfeeding support is critical to achieve the very important targets of the UN MDGs and effectively reduce under fives deaths, infant and young child health and improve maternal survival.
- Bev Oda, Minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Oda.B@parl.gc.ca
- Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca
- Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. Aglukkaq.L@parl.gc.ca
- Stephen Harper, Prime Minister. Harper.S@parl.gc.c
- Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Leader of the Opposition. Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca
- Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc. Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca
- Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP. Layton.J@parl.gc.ca
- Carolyn Bennett, Member Standing Committee on Health. Bennett.C@parl.gc.ca
- Paul Dewar, NDP Foreign Affairs critic. Dewar.P@parl.gc.ca
- Your local Member of Parliament
Your actions can improve global maternal and child survival!
Director INFACT Canada