The Developing-8 countries (D-8) Organization for Economic Cooperation has called for improved investment in low- and middle-income countries alike, to promote breastfeeding.

The group has drawn a link from breastfeeding to sustainable development goals, citing benefits for individuals, families and societies.

“Improving breastfeeding practices is important to us because it makes the world healthier, smarter, and more equal, said Dr Ado Muhammad, Special Adviser and Head Health and Social Protection secretariat.

“Our goal is to support our member states to reach the Health SDGs and breastfeeding is a critical key in achieving it, especially the SDG 2 and SDG3 which include ending hunger, improving nutrition and promoting health and wellbeing.”

It comes as the world marks the Breastfeeding Week, themed, “Empower Parents. Enable Breastfeeding.”

The World Bank’s new Investment Framework for Nutrition notes that every dollar invested in promoting breastfeeding can generate a return of $35 in economic benefits.

Breastmilk also helps to prevent pneumonia and diarrhoea, two of the leading causes of death for children under five.

Babies who are breastfed are 14 times less likely to die than those who are not fed breastmilk

Breastfeeding reduces the incidence of death in new-born babies, who account for nearly half of all deaths of children under five.

Ado said, “Breastfeeding is one of the keys to reducing under-five mortality. Increasing rates of breastfeeding will save more lives, it is cost effective, so we consider it as an easy health innovation and best practice that could reduce infant and child mortality as well as improve family planning.”