Breastfeeding Could Save 800,000 Children a Year

By Aneri Pattani

Despite the benefits of breastfeeding, it’s not always easy to get people on board. Yei Vahn, a mother of 12, gave her youngest son water since he was 4-months old, though experts advise against it. Credit Nicholas Kristof

Aneri Pattani, a freshly minted graduate of Northeastern University, is the winner of Nicholas Kristof’s annual win-a-trip contest. She previously wrote about the seven most inspiring people she met in Liberia and education for girls.

While traveling around Liberia, I discovered a super-medicine. In a world full of intractable health problems, it’s a low-cost, practical and easily administered substance that saves children’s lives like almost nothing else.

Any guesses? It’s probably not something that readily comes to mind, so simple that it’s often overlooked in favor of high-tech solutions. I’m talking about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a​ foundation for good nutrition. It reduces child mortality by providing protection against illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia, which kill 1.4 million children each year. In fact, by implementing proper breastfeeding practices alone, we could save the lives of 800,000 children a year in the developing world, according to estimates from the medical journal The Lancet.

The benefits go beyond saving lives. Breastfeeding also improves quality of life, global health experts say. It supports healthy brain development, improves cognitive performance and is associated with better educational achievement by age 5. These are benefits that extend into adulthood and contribute to the overall economic productivity of the world.

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Source: News Now/ New York Times

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About Cholo Brooks 12173 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.