Saturday August 18, 2018

WHO: Breastfeeding Gives Babies The Best Start in Life

The report warns that formula or other drinks must not be given to newborns unless absolutely necessary

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WHO: Breastfed Newborns Get Best Start in Life.
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Breastfeeding babies within an hour of birth significantly increases their chances of survival, the World Health Organization reports, citing data from 76 countries that find that mother’s milk is rich in health-giving nutrients and antibodies.

However, only 40 percent of infants are breastfed in the first hour of life, according to WHO’s infant and young child feeding specialist, Laurence Grummer-Strawn.

“The delay of breastfeeding puts the babies at increased risk of infection and ultimately increases their risk of death. Just delaying beyond the first hour can increase mortality by about one-third, and waiting until the second day doubles the rate of mortality,” he said.

The worst rates are found in East Asia and the Pacific, where only 32 percent of babies are breastfed in the first hour after birth, Grummer-Strawn said. He added that the numbers are much better in Africa, with eastern and southern Africa seeing average rates of 65 percent.

breastfeeding
Mothers breastfeed their newborn babies in the natal intermediate care unit at the Santa Ana public maternity hospital in Caracas, Oct. 22, 2011. (VOA)

“What is interesting is this varies tremendously from country to country,” he said. “As we look across Africa, you can see some countries that have very low rates, as low as 20 percent, but other countries, as high as 90 percent. Similarly, in Asia, a substantial difference from one country to another country in these rates.”

Grummer-Strawn says the difference in rates is not driven by regional patterns, but is mainly driven by the kind of education and medical care prevalent within a country.

Also Read: WHO Adds ‘Gaming Disorder’ In The List Of Mental Health Condition

The report warns that formula or other drinks must not be given to newborns unless absolutely necessary. It says formula can be dangerous because it sometimes is mixed with contaminated water and delays the infant’s first critical contact with his or her mother. (VOA)

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WHO Experts Start Ebola Vaccinations In Congo

The experimental vaccine was used in an earlier, unrelated outbreak in Congo's northwest that was declared over last month.

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Ebola patient
A health care worker from the World Health Organization, left, gives an Ebola vaccination to a front line aid worker who will then vaccinate people who might potentially have the virus, in Mbandaka, Congo. VOA

The World Health Organization says experts are starting to carry out Ebola vaccinations in Congo’s latest deadly outbreak.

Health officials have warned that containing the outbreak is complicated by the presence of multiple armed groups in the northeast region that borders Uganda and Rwanda.

Congo’s health ministry says at least nine people have died in the country’s tenth Ebola outbreak, which was declared Aug. 1. There have been 16 confirmed Ebola cases, 27 probable cases and 46 suspected ones.

The experimental vaccine was used in an earlier, unrelated outbreak in Congo’s northwest that was declared over last month. The first to be vaccinated are health workers, contacts of confirmed Ebola cases and their contacts.

Also Read: Congo’s New Ebola Outbreak Is A Great Risk: WHO

Genetic analysis has confirmed the virus strain in this latest outbreak is the Zaire strain. (VOA)

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