Prelims cum Mains

WHO rules call for support for breastfeeding

Details :

The news:

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a new guidance to increase support for breastfeeding.

News summary:

About new guidance:

  • Guidance is for health facilities that provide maternity and newborn services, which provide the immediate health system platform to help mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour and breastfeed exclusively for six months.
  • The guidelines describe how hospitals should have a written breastfeeding policy in place, required staff competencies, and antenatal and post-birth care, including breastfeeding support for mothers.
  • It also recommends limited use of breast milk substitutes, rooming-in, responsive feeding, and educating parents on the use of bottles and pacifiers, and support when mothers and babies are discharged from hospital.


Advantages of new guidance:

  • The promotion of breastfeeding requires support, encouragement and guidance. So, under new guidance with 10-basic steps, breastfeeding rates around the world can be improved and give children the best possible start in life.
  • However these guidelines should be implemented properly.


Benefits of breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding all babies for the first 2 years would save the lives of children under age 5.
  • Its benefits help keep babies healthy in their first days and last well into adulthood.
  • Whether a child can be breastfed or not can make the difference between life and death, and whether over a child will develop to reach his or her full potential.

Additional information:

About WHO:

  • The World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system.
  • The objective of WHO is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.
  • Health, as defined in the WHO Constitution, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
  • WHO is mandated to prevent and eradicate epidemics and to improve the nutritional, sanitary, hygienic and environmental conditions of people around the world.
  • It also provides emergency medical aid at the request of governments and provides services and facilities to groups with special needs.



  • The United Nations Children’s Fund – Set up in 1946, provides long-term humanitarian and development assistance to children and mothers.
  • It focuses on five key areas: child survival and development; basic education and gender equality; child protection; children living with HIV/AIDs; and policy advocacy and partnerships for children’s rights.

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