Breastfeeding awareness is a hot topic world wide, especially in to countries that face problems of food shortages and malnutrition.
August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, an event that gives the opportunity to put the spotlight on the importance of breastfeeding. Breast milk has the potential to save children's lives; it's a free source of nutrients mothers can give their children, especially in third-world countries.
"Malawi, home to 6.8 million children (51 percent of the total population), presents a number of opportunities and challenges for its youngest citizens and their families," UNICEF stated in a press release. "The prospects for child survival have improved over the past few years: prudent economic management, stable macroeconomic conditions and increasing agricultural production are helping to reduce poverty and hunger, and Malawi's HIV prevalence rate seems to have stabilized at 12 percent."
However, poverty continues to be chronic and widespread in Malawi, a country that is hindered by fast growing population, limited arable land, cyclical natural disasters, food insecurity, malnutrition, HIV and AIDS, and malaria.
According to the medical journal, The Lancet, "suboptimum breastfeeding results in more than 800,000 child deaths annually."
If newborns are given breast milk immediately after birth and are fed only breast milk for the first six months, the chances of survival greatly increase, according to AllAfrica.com. Approximately one in eight child's death may have been prevent by breastfeeding, making it the best source to prevent disease and malnutrition.
"It is estimated that 3.1 million children die from malnutrition each year. Despite significant progress in reducing child mortality, 1 in 9 children in Africa still do not live to see their fifth birthday," according to AllAfrica.com. "Breastfeeding is not only crucial for tackling malnutrition and saving children's lives, it also has the potential to have tangible impacts on the economic and social development of countries across Africa."