Sri Lanka has been awarded the first-ever ‘Green’ nation status by the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) in January for supporting breastfeeding women, leading to improved breastfeeding practices drastically in the country.
The WBTi has congratulated Sri Lanka for achieving this status, scoring 91/100 on 10 parameters on policy and programs in support of breastfeeding women.
The WBTi is a worldwide initiative which consists of 120 countries and it does colour-coding and ranking of countries according to 10 parameters. The colour codes are Red, Yellow, Blue and Green in an ascending order of performance. The WBTi also assists countries to assess and analyse gaps, and then calls for action to bridge those 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 the child’s health, women’s health and also prevents future non-communicable diseases. This can only be achieved through galvanising national actions to protect and support every pregnant and lactating woman.
Globally, only 41% of infants of zero to six months are exclusively breastfed, whereas in Sri Lanka it has already reached 82%. The World Health Assembly has set a target to reach 50% globally by 2025 and every country should contribute to it.
According to WHO and UNICEF, every breastfeeding woman and the baby require an enabling environment in order to begin breastfeeding within an hour of birth, breastfed exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding along with adequate foods till two years or beyond.