MCHIP joins together with more than 170 countries around the world in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, which is observed each year during the first week of August. This week recognizes the Innocenti Declaration adopted by WHO and UNICEF policymakers in August 1990 to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
The ultimate goals of World Breastfeeding Week are to encourage breastfeeding and to improve the health of babies worldwide. Because breastfeeding is the best way to provide newborns with the nutrients they need, the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until infants are six months old, and continued breastfeeding with the addition of complementary nutritious foods for up to two years or beyond.
MCHIP’s PVO/NGO support team provides technical assistance to Mercy Corps for an exclusive breastfeeding promotion program in Indonesia through USAID’s Child Survival and Health Grants Program (CSHGP). Healthy Start Indonesia is a child survival project with a tightly defined and focused intervention for children from birth to six months of age through work in health facilities, the community, and at the policy level.
The project goal has been to create a supportive healthcare, policy and social environment for the early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding from birth to six months of age in urban North Jakarta. Mercy Corps will continue expanding the Healthy Start breastfeeding promotion model to improve breastfeeding practices and thereby improve the health status of women and children.
MCHIP also provides technical support to improve the preventive and curative nutrition components of child health programs. Because sub-optimal infant and young child feeding and malnutrition increase the risk of under-five deaths from diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, MCHIP promotes Essential Nutrition Actions, which include immediate and exclusive breastfeeding for six months.