The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on August 10 held a special event to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week to highlight the importance of breastfeeding as key to children’s survival, nutrition and early development.

Protecting and promoting breastfeeding is part of WFP’s Prevention and Treatment of Moderate Acute Malnutrition project that is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to WFP Tajikistan, the project supports the Government of Tajikistan in improving nutrition by providing access to nutritional support and healthcare.

“Breastfeeding provides children with the best start in life, it also benefits maternal health, protects against non-communicable diseases and contributes to environmental sustainability. Children who are not breastfed face an increased risk of malnutrition, morbidity and long-term health consequences,” noted WFP Acting Representative in Tajikistan Mariko Kawabata.  “Promoting breastfeeding is critical to realizing WFP’s main goal; that is achieving zero hunger by 2030.”

Over the coming four years, WFP – with USAID support – plans to provide specialized nutritious food products to over 24,000 malnourished children aged 6-59 months in more than 300 national primary health centers in Balkhi, Shahritous, Kulob and Dousti districts in Khatlon province and Ayni district in Sughd province.

The Breastfeeding – Foundation of Life event was held in Kulob in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP).  Governmental counterparts, donors, partners and media attended the event that included short dramas, art competitions for children, and quizzes to test participants’ knowledge on the importance of breastfeeding.

For the last 25 years, WFP has been providing food assistance in Tajikistan while building and consolidating a national social protection system for food security and nutrition.