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USAID Joins the International Community to Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week
August 4, 2016


Woman breastfeeds her child
Breastfeeding is also important for maternal health, reducing the risks for both breast and ovarian cancers. Nearly 20,000 maternal deaths from breast cancer are averted annually through breastfeeding. Photo credit: Jane Silcock/USAID.

Washington, D.C.

During the first week of August, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) joins the international community to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding is one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children and improve their future ability to grow, learn, and thrive as members of their community. According to a recent Lancet series, the deaths of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year could be averted through scaling up optimal breastfeeding practices to nearly universal levels, along with economic savings of US$ 300 billion.

Breastfeeding is a key part of USAID’s nutrition programs and goal to end preventable child and maternal deaths. Breastmilk helps deliver powerful antibodies and can help prevent often deadly diarrhea and pneumonia in infants. It also provides nutrients that help children grow up strong and healthy. USAID works with countries around the world to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding and create an enabling environment for mothers to meet the World Health Organization guidelines of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond.

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