UNICEF: 37% of infants in Afghanistan deprived of breastfeeding

A child at Children’s Hospital in Kabul. Sept. 19, 2022.

The United Nations Children’s Fund has released a report revealing that a staggering 37% of infants in Afghanistan are not receiving breastfeeding. As the world observes World Breastfeeding Week, which commenced on August 1, the organization has shed light on the pivotal contributions of female professionals within Afghanistan’s nutrition and healthcare sector.

UNICEF underscored the indispensable role these women play in ensuring access to essential healthcare services for Afghan children and women.

UNICEF underscored the vital significance of breast milk for children’s health and notes with concern that only 67% of Afghan children are benefiting from breastfeeding.

In light of financial constraints and food scarcity, some mothers have expressed challenges in producing sufficient milk for their children, resulting in instances of malnutrition among these vulnerable infants.

The organization emphasizes that the absence of female healthcare workers significantly hampers the delivery of essential services to women and children throughout Afghanistan.

Among those grappling with these hardships is Nargis, a resident of Kabul, who lamented her inability to provide sufficient nourishment for her child due to her dire economic situation. Nargis revealed that insufficient food and frequent hunger are her daily companions, contributing to her child’s distressing experience of malnutrition.

“I cannot bear to see my child suffer like this,” Nargis expressed with palpable anguish.

Regrettably, Nargis’ story echoes through hundreds of households, with countless children facing the devastating impact of malnutrition.

Mothers who have experienced the harrowing effects of malnutrition on their children consistently attribute their struggles to unfavorable economic conditions, highlighting the pressing need for comprehensive support measures.

“Children’s nutrition requires immediate attention,” emphasized Fatima Fatahi, a specialist in child nutrition.

Previously, the United Nations Children’s Fund spotlighted a grim statistic: a staggering 875,000 children in Afghanistan are perilously susceptible to severe malnutrition. According to experts, urgent financial support is identified as a critical lifeline for these children as their lives hang in the balance.