Sunday, August 28, 2011

SOUTH AFRICA: Policy turnaround on breastfeeding. "Confusion" surrounding infant feeding and the risk of HIV transmission.

PlusNews: Some people may think that it is mainly ARVs that kill people affected by HIV, but the provision of infant formula and the discouragement (or, in rich countries, legal banning) of breastfeeding may have quietly killed as many…“South Africa’s high child mortality rates have forced the government to rethink its policy on infant feeding and move to discontinue the free provision of formula milk at hospitals and clinics, as well as promote an exclusive breastfeeding strategy for all mothers, including those living with HIV…South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the world where infant mortality is rising. It also has one of the world’s lowest levels of exclusive breastfeeding: an estimated 8 percent, dropping to 1.5 percent for babies between four and six months old”…The downside is that this is being used as an excuse to provide ARVs to infants of HIV+ mothers, so if they don’t kill them one way, they will try another.

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