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FP6

PROMISE COMPONENT 2 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 3660
Funded under: FP6-INCO
Country: Norway

Promoting breastfeeding for better infant health

Seeking to reverse the underestimated value of human breast milk, a European initiative promoted breastfeeding for improved infant health and nutrition.
Promoting breastfeeding for better infant health
Breastfeeding is highly recommended by most doctors as it provides nourishment to the child and at the same time, through the transmission of antibodies, it enhances the child’s immune health. Especially in low-income countries, where clean water and vaccination are not always easily accessible, exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is the most effective child health intervention. Although EBF has been shown to lower mortality by 13 %, it is seldom practiced by mothers worldwide. In the majority of cases, post-natal HIV transmission poses the greatest barrier to EBF.

The EU-funded project ‘Promoting infant health and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Safety and efficacy of exclusive breastfeeding promotion in the era of HIV’ (Promise Component 2) aimed to raise awareness of the benefits of EBF. Project partners ran a randomised trial to develop and test models for applying this approach. Participating mothers were divided into intervention and control groups, receiving either EBF counselling or standard antenatal health promotion, respectively. Results indicated that intervention methods raised EBF rates compared to the control group, clearly indicating that appropriate guidance can bring dramatic results.

The Promise Component 2 project managed to demonstrate the invaluable importance of EBF in terms of health benefits and cost effectiveness. Additionally, it illustrated the strength of counselling in health promotion.

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