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Exclusive Breastfeeding Policy Implemented in South Africa Amidst Criticism

April 2, 2012

On Sunday, South Africa's nine provinces began promoting the Tshwane Declaration, which "states unequivocal support for [exclusive breastfeeding (EBF)] for all infants up to six months, including HIV-exposed infants, who should receive antiretrovirals (ARVs) to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), as recommended in the 2010 World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines," Inter Press Service reports. "But despite the clarity of the policy and its supporting data, vocal critics, including respected individuals from leading medical and academic institutions, have decried the choice," the news service writes.

In addition to "commit[ting] resources to promoting EBF, including developing legislation for maternity protection and support for workplace breastfeeding," the policy, "perhaps most controversially, ... removes provision of formula feeding at public health facilities except by prescription for medical conditions," according to IPS. The article includes comments from supporters and critics of the new policy (Middleton, 4/1).

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