Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - World Vision calls for more work on breastfeeding

World Vision calls for more work on breastfeeding

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A mother is breastfeeding her child at home. Heng Chivoan

World Vision calls for more work on breastfeeding

World Vision International (Cambodia) has announced the results of its study indicating that a failure to properly implement recommended steps leads to a reduction in the duration of breastfeeding.

The findings come after the organisation conducted a brief study in August and September 2022 at 10 health centres, including those in its target areas such as Kampong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces.

It said the study meant to examine the shortcomings and barriers to promotion and support for breastfeeding at the health centre level and was also part of gathering evidence about the process of providing breastfeeding services at the local level.

According to the breastfeeding practice estimates report at the health centre level released on November 29, barriers to breastfeeding can be addressed by strengthening capacity, providing support and setting goals for educating health workers.

The study also found that abusive advertisements by private businesses have encouraged mothers to intentionally or unintentionally use breast milk substitute products during antenatal care at the postpartum health centres.

“New employees at health centres are vulnerable to breast milk substitute companies and some midwives may violate Sub-Decree No 13. Although the sub-decree explicitly prohibits promotion of substitutes, it is not enforced correctly. New mothers have reportedly received phone calls from advertisers selling dairy products,” the report said.

“When we go down to estimate, we see the presence of manuals, policies or strategies and many other documents. However, there was a shortage of materials for breastfeeding counselling,” said Munint Mak, a senior technical specialist for health and nutrition at World Vision Cambodia.

“We found that the absence of screening mechanisms and measures to correct breastfeeding indicators required a series of staff training, focusing on reminding them about the basics of breastfeeding,” he said.

World Vision Cambodia and the National Maternal and Child Health Centre (NMCHC) earlier this week announced the launch of “Baby-Friendly Health Centre” – a pilot one-year programme aimed at promoting breastfeeding and treatment of acute malnutrition – at eight health centres in Siem Reap.

The programme is in line with the operational guidelines for the UN’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), which include staff capacity building, prenatal care, helping mothers to start breastfeeding in the first hours after birth, providing food or other fluids to add with breast milk, keeping the baby in the room with the mother 24 hours a day, among others.

The global BFHI were established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF in 1991, and Cambodia officially launched the programme in 2004. It is meant to ensure that mothers and newborns engage in breastfeeding in a timely and appropriate manner because it is best for promoting the newborn’s health and development.

The exclusive breastfeeding rate for infants 6 months old and younger was up to 74 per cent in 2010, but later dropped to 51 per cent in 2021 due to the prevalence of businesses selling and advertising infant formula with claims that it was superior to breastfeeding.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former