Breast Feeding versus Infant Formula in Sub-Saharan Africa

As part of its global efforts to reduce infant mortality worldwide, UNICEF has acknolwedged the importance of breastfeeding as a significant goal. UNICEF therefore endorses the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) created by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Taking a rights-based approach, the Global Strategy claims that nutrition is a major “component of every childs right to the highest attainable standard of health, and every womans right to proper nutrition and to full information and appropriate conditions that will enable her to feed her child as she decides.” This claim inextricably supports the relationship between maternal and child health, as well as the fundamental role of health as a basis to expand human freedoms and capabilities. Early childhood nutrition is associated with child development later in life – which is cause for a focus on thier health and education from very early on. This raises, interestingly, the idea that human development and wellbeing as being basically reliant on health. Because poor nutrition, malnurishmount, disease, and illness can not only limit one’s societal productivity, but it can also hinder children from enjoying basic freedoms and leading healthy, and fulfilled lives.
This paper focusses on Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest infant mortality in the world. The author uses the rational choice model to explain the problem of decreased breast feeding in the region. Looking specifically at the options available to women in the region, the author compares breast feeding and infant formula in terms of the cost and benefit of such choices and the decisions made on the basis of beliefs and varying goals. The author also uses collective action theory to explain womens social behavior in Sub Saharan Africa, taking into consideration the environment of action, the choices that the decision makers would make in this environment, and the aggregate effect of these choices.

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