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  • In the period from June to September this year, an estimated 9.6 million people are under critical or worse levels of food insecurity and require urgent action.

    In the period from June to September this year, an estimated 9.6 million people are under critical or worse levels of food insecurity and require urgent action. | Photo: AFP

Published 31 July 2020
Opinion

The organization says that age-inappropriate feeding throughout the first six months of life is one of the largest contributors to the high levels of malnutrition in South Sudan.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday that breastfeeding is one of the most suitable alternatives at the moment to save the almost 1.3 million children aged below five years that are at risk of acute malnutrition in South Sudan.

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Since breastfeeding is scientifically proven to be the best nutrition for toddlers, UNICEF remarks that breastfed children have at least a six times greater chance of survival in their early months. Hence, further progress is needed regarding breastfeeding practices in the country.

"It is vital that we listen to mothers about why they do not practice exclusive breastfeeding. Simple actions, like doing housework, so that a new mother has time to breastfeed, can be done by any member of the household and can give a new generation the best health foundation there is," said via a statement Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF representative in South Sudan.

Ahead of the World Breastfeeding Week from August 1 to 7, the organization reported that age-inappropriate feeding throughout the first six months of life is one of the most significant contributors to the high levels of malnutrition in South Sudan.

According to the international agency The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), in the period from June to September this year, an estimated 9.6 million people are under critical or worse levels of food insecurity and require urgent action.

In this sense, UNICEF advocates for exclusive breastfeeding for six months and introduction of energy and nutrient-dense complementary feeding after that, as it is estimated that three in ten children do not receive the best food in the first six months of their life. 

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