VIENTIANE, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has pledged to attach greater importance to breastfeeding promotion efforts in Laos, the Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on Thursday.
"Breastfeeding is very important for child, mother, family, community and nation. Globally, World Breeding Week is commemorated every year on Aug 1-7. More than 130 countries celebrate the World Breeding Week annually," Myo-Zin Nyunt, deputy representative of UNICEF said, adding that breastfeeding also benefits national economies by helping lower healthcare costs, increases educational attainment and ultimately boosts productivity.
"This year, Laos will be celebrating the World Breastfeeding Week through public awareness, through the media, through different TV spots to bring this important issue to every family and community in the Lao PDR," said Nyunt.
The World Breeding Week 2017, with a theme of "common good for all," is aimed at achieving sustainable results through the combination of all individual efforts that mix all responsibilities to bring the results - good results for children, mothers, families and good results for the nation.
According to a nationwide survey conducted in 2012, only 40 percent of Lao mothers exclusively breastfeed babies. It's still very low though some countries in the region have lower as 20 percent of exclusive breastfeeding rates, said KPL.
Breastfeeding brings many benefits to children, infants as they can survive and grow healthily from exclusive breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also has long term health benefits for mothers, families, communities and the entire country.
A 2016 study conducted by World Bank Group suggests that every dollar invested in supporting breastfeeding generates an estimated 35 U.S. dollars in economic returns across lower and middle-income countries.
By contrast, low breastfeeding rates translate into billions of dollars' worth of lost productivity and health care cost to treat preventable illnesses and chronic diseases.