Some 2,000 mothers in the Philippines breastfed their babies in public at a gathering on August 5 to respond to World Breastfeeding Week (Photo: AFP)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Some 2,000 mothers in the Philippines breastfed their babies in public at a gathering on August 5 to respond to World Breastfeeding Week, dispelling taboos over the practice and raising awareness of breast milk’s benefits for infants.

The annual event, the fifth of its kind in the country, aimed to encourage Philippine mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months to lower the country’s infant mortality rate.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said 28 out of every 1,000 children in the Philippines die under the age of five. Although the figure has been cut in half compared to 1990, the country aims to lower infant mortality rates to 19 per 1,000.

World Breastfeeding Week is taking place from August 1-7, themed “Sustainable Breastfeeding together”. Research shows that breastfeeding improves mothers and babies’ health and promotes economic development.

Only about 40 percent of infants aged 0-6 months worldwide are exclusively breastfed, according to reports from UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. Only 23 countries worldwide have exclusive breastfeeding rates above 60 percent.-VNA