Cambodia Touts Success of Breastfeeding Campaign

Cambodia’s efforts to promote breastfeeding were described as a success story for the region at a conference on maternal health in Sri Lanka last week.  Ou Kevanna, manager of the National Maternal and Child Health Center’s national nutrition program, explained at the meeting in Colombo that the number of newborn Cambodian babies only fed with breast milk had dramatically increased. More than 73 percent of Cambodian babies under six months were breastfed exclusively in 2010, up from 60 percent in 2005 and 11 percent in 2000, Mr Kevanna told the conference, adding that breastmilk was also part of the diet of nearly 97 percent of all children. “The improvement in early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding has contributed to the reduction of infant and under-five mortality,” said Mr Kevanna, who attributed the pro­gress in breastfeeding to media campaigns and community education programs. Kum Kanal, director of the National Maternal and Child Health Center, said yesterday that the benefits of breastfeeding had become better known among Cambodian mothers. Mr Kanal also recommended against feeding powdered formula milk to babies under six months. Hak Vireak, 27, the co-owner of baby shop Plus Mart in Daun Penh district, said that formula milk was becoming more popular among mothers, particularly those who are working. “It’s popular because most women go to work outside” and are not at home to breastfeed, she said.

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