Thursday January 23, 2020

U.N. Agencies Urging Governments to Encourage Mothers to Breastfeed Their Babies

The World Health Organization and U.N. Children’s Fund say breastfed babies have the best chance of enjoying a healthy, productive life

0
//
FILE - Some 170 mothers breastfeed their children during a mass breastfeeding event inside a military headquarters in Taguig City, metro Manila, August 2, 2014. VOA

Leading U.N. agencies are urging governments to adopt family-friendly policies to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies at home and at work. The World Health Organization and U.N. Children’s Fund say breastfed babies have the best chance of enjoying a healthy, productive life.

Health experts agree both mothers and babies reap tremendous benefits from breastfeeding. They say nursing mothers run lower risks of getting ovarian cancer, breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

For babies, there are both short-term and long-term benefits. They say mother’s milk supports healthy brain development in babies and boosts their immune systems so they can better fight off infections.

A U.N. survey finds wealthier countries have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, with fewer than 25 percent of babies being exclusively breastfed. This compares with Rwanda where nearly 90 percent of babies are breastfed and other countries such as Burundi and Sri Lanka, which have high rates of well over 80 percent.

UN, Breastfeed, Babies
Leading U.N. agencies are urging governments to adopt family-friendly policies to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies at home and at work. Pixabay

The technical officer in WHO’s nutrition department, Laurence Grummer-Strawn, tells VOA children in the richer countries would enjoy long-term benefits from breastfeeding.

“Babies who are breast fed are actually less likely to become obese when they are older children,” said Grummer-Strawn. “They have lower risks of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome. They have lower risk of leukemia…And, in low income countries, it reduces risks of respiratory infections and diarrhea that are some of the big killers of children.”

WHO reports increasing breastfeeding could prevent 823,000 deaths in children under five every year and 20,000 annual deaths from breast cancer. Additionally, Grummer-Strawn says a World Bank analysis finds investing in increasing breastfeeding would produce huge returns.

“They estimated for every dollar that is spent to promote, protect and support breastfeeding, $35 would be saved in economic gains around the world,” said Grummer-Strawn. “The overall estimate is that on an annual basis, we lose $302 billion in global productivity because of the lack of breastfeeding.”

Also Read- Top 5 Features of Firestick

WHO and UNICEF are calling on governments to support breastfeeding by enacting paid maternity leave for a minimum of 18 weeks; as well as paid paternity leave to encourage shared caring of children on an equal basis.
They say employers should support nursing mothers returning to work by providing them with a private, hygienic space for breastfeeding and expressing and storing milk. (VOA)

Next Story

Babies in ICU More Likely to Get Protected from Parental Bacteria: Study

The researchers selected for study 190 newborn babies admitted to two NICUs at Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospitals in Baltimore, Maryland, between November 2014 and December 2018

0
Babies
To reduce the spread of Bacteria, the researchers turned to a simple regimen for mothers and fathers to follow while their Babies are in intensive care. Pixabay

Researchers have developed and tested a relatively simple strategy for reducing the chance of parents exposing their babies in the NICU to one of the most commonly diagnosed and potentially deadly microbial scourges in a hospital: Staphylococcus aureus.

“Traditional procedures for preventing hospital-acquired Staph infections in the NICU have primarily focused on keeping staff and facilities as sterile as possible,” said study researcher Aaron Milstone from Johns Hopkins University in the US.

“Our study is among the first to focus on parents as a source of the bacteria and then test the effectiveness of an intervention to combat the problem,” Milstone added.

According to the researchers, Staphylococcus aureus infections in the NICU not only threaten a sick or premature infant’s survival but their neurological development as well.

In a 2015 study, Milstone and others estimated that there are more than 5,000 cases of invasive such infections each year in NICUs across the US and that 10 per cent of the children will likely die before hospital discharge.

To reduce the spread of Staphylococcus aureus, the researchers turned to a simple regimen for mothers and fathers to follow while their child is in intensive care.

The preventive measure includes the application of an antibiotic (mupirocin) ointment into the nose and skin cleansing with a wipe containing two per cent chlorhexidine gluconate, an antiseptic widely used on patients to remove surface bacteria around a surgical site before an operation.

The Treating Parents to Reduce NICU Transmission of Staphylococcus (TREAT Parents) clinical trial was conducted to test the proposed strategy’s effectiveness.

Babies
Researchers have developed and tested a relatively simple strategy for reducing the chance of parents exposing their babies in the NICU to one of the most commonly diagnosed and potentially deadly microbial scourges in a hospital: Staphylococcus aureus. Pixabay

The researchers selected for study 190 newborn babies admitted to two NICUs at Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospitals in Baltimore, Maryland, between November 2014 and December 2018.

Each of the infants had at least one parent who tested positive for the bacteria when screened at the time of their child’s entry into the NICU.

Baseline S. aureus counts were done for the infants at the same time.

The parents of 89 babies self-administered the antibiotic nasal ointment twice a day for five days and cleaned designated skin areas with antiseptic wipes for the same time period.

The control group, consisting of the remaining 101 parental couples, used identically packaged placebo treatments of petroleum jelly and non-antiseptic wipes.

Both sets of babies were monitored for Staphylococcus colonization until discharge from the NICU. Bacteria recovered from the infants were analyzed to determine if they were the same strain as seen in at least one parent.

Among the 190 infants studied overall, 42, or about 22 per cent, acquired S. aureus that matched bacteria recovered from either their mother or father, or from both parents. In this group, four babies had MRSA strains acquired from a parent.

Babies
The study is among the first to focus on parents as a source of the bacteria to their babies and then test the effectiveness of an intervention to combat the problem. Pixabay

Of the 101 babies with parents in the control group, 29 per cent had parentally acquired bacteria compared with only 13 of the 89 babies whose parents were given actual antibiotic ointment and antiseptic wipes to use.

ALSO READ: Tips On How To Write a Plagiarism Free Essay

“These results from our preliminary trial indicate that treatment with intranasal mupirocin and chlorhexidine wipes may significantly reduce the number of infants in the NICU who will get S. aureus from contact with a parent,” Milstone said. (IANS)