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UNICEF and WHO recommend that children be exclusively breastfed during the first six months of life and that children be given solid or semisolid complementary food in addition to continued breastfeeding from six months to 24 months. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended because breast milk is uncontaminated and contains all of the nutrients necessary for children in the first few months of life. In addition, the mother’s antibodies in breast milk provide immunity to disease. Early supplementation is discouraged for several reasons. First, it exposes infants to pathogens and increases their risk of infection, especially disease. Second, it decreases infants’ intake of breast milk and therefore suckling, which reduces breast milk production. Third, in a harsh socioeconomic environment, such as in Ratanakiri province, supplementary food is often nutritionally inferior and not financially viable.

According to the 2014 Demographic and Health survey only 37 percent of Cambodian children continue to breastfeed until age 2, which leaves 63 percent deprived of valuable nutrients during this period. Despite national improvements in child survival, 40% of Cambodian children less than 5 years of age are stunted, and this is especially the case in Ratanakiri.

Sub-decree 133, adopted from the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, was passed in Cambodia in 2005. This law forbids any distributor or manufacturer from promoting infant and young child feeding products at point-of-sale, in hospitals or health centers. This includes “providing one or more samples of the infant and young child feeding products to any person”.

The World Breastfeeding Week 2016 theme is on raising awareness of the links between breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals. By recognizing that breastfeeding is a key to sustainable development, we will value our wellbeing from the start of life, respect each other and care for the world we share.

To support and celebrate International Breast Feeding week, Human and Health (H&H), Johaniter International Assistance (JIA), Helen Keller International (HKI) and the Provincial Department of Health came together to run a campaign in 3 Health Centers (HC) in Ratanakiri province, Lumphat HC, Konmom HC and Ke Chong HC.

The campaign targeted women of child bearing age and breast feeding mothers. Using Information Education Communication materials that were produced by the Ministry of Health and HKI, H&H and JIA had some of these translated into Indigenous languages to ensure inclusiveness of Indigenous people.

This is a great example on the importance of working collaboratively with partners and stakeholders. Johanniter International Assistance and Human and Health believe that greater outcomes can be achieved when work is done in unison and with a team spirit with all its stakeholders.


Meet Tar Pleng


Tar Pleng is a 5 year old Tampoun girl who lives with her mother, father and 4 older siblings. Both her parents are small-scale farmers. In 2015 Tar Plengs mother had been treating Ta Plengs sore on her neck as a boil on the advice given to her from a private clinic in Lumphat town. Her mother had no prior knowledge about TB until Mr Payet, who is from the same village informed her about the signs and symptoms of pulmonary and extra pulmonary TB.  Mr Payet was a former TB patient who had recieved education on how to recognises signs and symptoms of TB from H&H staff.

Taking his advice Tar Plengs mother took her to Lumphat HC where she was diagnosed with extra pulmonary TB. Ta Pleng, together with her mother stayed in the Lumphat HC where she recieved the initiatl phase of her treatment. H&H provided them both  with food, non-food items and TB education during this 2 month period.
Tar Plengs mother said that she feels so much better now that she is informed about her daughter’s illness. With the knowledge she now has she wants to encourage all the mothers in her community to attend TB education performances when they are conducted in her village by H&H. ...