World Breastfeeding Week 2014: An Opportunity for Donors to Support Child Survival

Newborn deaths in the first 28 days of life now represent 44% of all child deaths under five years (see The Lancet’s Every Newborn Series).  By initiating breastfeeding within an hour of birth, a mom can help protect her newborn from infection, a leading cause of neonatal death.  Early breastfeeding alone could save more than 500,000 children every year (see UNICEF’s Improving Child Nutrition).  Despite the known health benefits, less than 50% of newborns are breastfed within an hour of birth.  Many new moms living in poor communities lack information and access to quality healthcare and counselors that can facilitate early breastfeeding.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week, an annual series of events and awareness-raising campaigns hosted by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other partners in more than 120 countries worldwide.  This year’s World Breastfeeding Week aims to increase and sustain the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.  In honor of this effort, we’ve feature below a high impact opportunity for donors interested in supporting breastfeeding and child survival:

Care Groups are peer-based health promotion programs that can quickly and effectively improve health behaviors and outcomes in low-resource communities around the world.  By empowering mothers and local leaders, the Care Group model demonstrates that high-impact solutions to childhood malnutrition and illness can be simple, low-cost, and community-derived. Data gathered during a five-year implementation of Care Groups show that breastfeeding up to age six months more than doubled when women were involved in care groups. To learn more, visit our Child Survival Guidance.

As always, we hope the opportunities we present help donors more from good intentions to high impact.