Sri Lanka has become the number one nation in the world and awarded first ever `Green Nation Status’ by the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) in January 202 for supporting breastfeeding women and leading to improved breastfeeding practices drastically in the country, Health services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe said.
According to Dr. Jasinghe, the WBTi congratulates Sri Lanka for achieving this status scoring 91/100 parameters on policy and programmes in support of breastfeeding women. The WBTi is a world wide initiative which consists of 120 countries and it does colour-coading and ranking of countries according to 10 programmes.
Dr. Jasinghe pointed out that the colour codes are red, yellow, blue and green in an ascending order of performance. The WBTi also assists countries to assess and analyze gaps and then call for action to bridge the gaps. Inadequate breastfeeding costs the global economy almost 1$ billion each day. This loss is due to lost productivity and healthcare costs. Breastfeeding mainly benefits child health, women’s health and also prevents future Non Communicable Diseases.
This can only be achieved through galvanizing national actions to protect and support every pregnant and lactating woman. Globally only 41 percent of infants of 0-6 months are exclusively breastfed, whereas in Sri Lanka it has already reached to 82 percent. The World Health Assembly has set a target to reach 5- percent globally by 2025 and every country should contribute to it. According to WHO and UNICEF every breastfeeding woman and the baby requires an enabling environment in order to begin breastfeeding within an hour of birth, breastfeeding exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding along with adequate food till two years or beyond, he added.