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World Breastfeeding Week underway

Released at: 11:31, 01/08/2017

World Breastfeeding Week underway

Photo: World Breastfeeding Week

Vietnam launches e-learning program on infant and young child feeding in celebration of global week, which began on August 1.

by Doanh Doanh

With the theme “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together”, World Breastfeeding Week 2017 commenced on August 1, reinforcing the importance of strengthening partnerships with governments, non-government organizations, academic institutions, development partners, the private sector, and others to advance policies and programs for improved breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding is not just a one-woman job,” said Associate Professor Le Danh Tuyen, Director of the National Institute of Nutrition. “It requires encouragement and support from skilled counsellors, family members, healthcare providers, employers, policymakers and others. We commit to working with all stakeholders to create an environment that helps all women and children to thrive.”

Recent global evidence has shown that improving breastfeeding practices is critical to increasing maternal and child health and also spurring economic growth. The Lancet 2016 series on breastfeeding found that it can lower healthcare costs and contribute to a stronger workforce. The cost of lower cognitive ability associated with not breastfeeding amounts to about $300 billion annually, representing 0.49 per cent of global gross national incomes.

Recent research by leading health economists on the Cost of Not Breastfeeding in Southeast Asia, with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Alive & Thrive, estimates that optimal breastfeeding practices can save $23.36 million per year in health systems expenditures due to reduced treatment of child illnesses and prevent $70.4 million in annual wage losses by improving the learning abilities of children cognitive losses in Vietnam.

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, an e-learning program on infant and young child feeding was launched on July 31 by the National Institute of Nutrition, Alive & Thrive, and the Hanoi University of Science and Technology. The e-learning program is based on an approved curriculum by the Ministry of Health to provide certified training to existing and new health professionals, and consists of 20 topic areas with an estimated duration of 48 hours.

“Health workers play a critical role in providing families with skilled support for breastfeeding and complementary feeding for optimal health and development,” said Mr. Roger Mathisen, Program Director of Alive & Thrive Southeast Asia. “This innovative and interactive e-learning course gives learners across Vietnam the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills directly from experts while using their computers, tablets or smartphones. This approach is convenient for students, saves time and costs, and ensures sustainability and scale compared to traditional learning methods.”

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