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Publication date: 
July 22, 2019

Abstract

Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF)—giving infants only breastmilk (and medications, oral rehydration salts and vitamins as needed) with no additional food or drink for their first six months of life—is one of the most effective strategies for preventing child mortality1–4. Despite these advantages, only 37%of infants under 6 months of age in Africa were exclusively breastfed in 20175, and the practice of EBF varies by population. Here, we present a fine-scale geospatial analysis of EBF prevalence and trends in 49 African countries from 2000– 2017, providing policy-relevant administrative- and nationallevel estimates. Previous national-level analyses found that most countries will not meet the World Health Organization’s Global Nutrition Target of 50% EBF prevalence by 20256. Our analyses show that even fewer will achieve this ambition in all subnational areas. Our estimates provide the ability to visualize subnational EBF variability and identify populations in need of additional breastfeeding support.

Citation: 

Bhattacharjee NV, Schaeffer LE, Marczak LB, Ross JM, Swartz SJ, Albright J, Gardner WM, Shields C, Sligar A, Schipp MF, Pickering BV, Henry NJ, Johnson KB, Louie C, Cork MA, Steuben KM, Lazzar-Atwood A, Lu D, Kinyoki DK, Osgood-Zimmerman A, Earl L, Mosser JF, Deshpande A, Burstein R, Woyczynski LP, Wilson KF, VanderHeide JD, Wiens KE, Reiner RC, Piwoz EG, Rawat R, Sartorius B, Weaver ND, Nixon MR, Smith DL, Kassebaum NJ, Gakidou E, Lim SS, Mokdad AH, Murray CJL, Dwyer-Lindgren L, Hay SI. Mapping exclusive breastfeeding in Africa between 2000 and 2017. Nature Medicine. 22 July 2019. doi:10.1038/s41591-019-0525-0.