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A joint visit with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Guizhou Province on the issue of breastfeeding

In order to promote breastfeeding in China, China Development Research Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began collaboration at the end of 2016. This project will survey breastfeeding in China; collect first-hand data; build platforms for sharing information and cooperation; improve knowledge sharing and advocate for evidence based public policy.



Shawn Baker, the director of the nutrition team of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led a five-person team visiting China Development Research Foundation on April 17. The purpose was to share international experiences and discuss work plans. Lu Mai, the Secretary-General of China Development Research Foundation, welcomed the visiting team and domestic scholars to the Foundation. Ms Nemat Hajeebhoy, the deputy director of the nutrition team of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says “breastfeeding is indisputably superior to formula feeding.” In the short term, breastfeeding can help infants reduce risk of diarrhea and respiratory illness. In the long term, breastfeeding can reduce risks of acute otitis media, dental problems, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Infants who are breastfed score an average of 3 points higher IQs than non-breastfed infants.



According to Dr. Yang Zhenyu, the director of Nutrition and Health Center of China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China's exclusive breastfeeding rate continues to decline. It is influenced by economy, society and family values. Dr Zhang Shuyi, the researcher of Capital Institute of Pediatrics, adds the sales of breast-milk substitutes (baby formula, etc.) in China continue to rise, including formula for age 0-6 months. “Most of formula manufacturers increase sales through promotion and exaggeration of effectiveness which is in violation of International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.”


Led by Dr Fang Jin, the Deputy Secretary-General of China Development Research Foundation, China Development Research Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation jointly visited Guiyang, Guizhou and Zhijin County under Bijie City to study the situation of breastfeeding on April 19-20. A seminar was held under Guiyang City Health and Family Planning Commission with participants from Guiyang City Health and Family Planning Commission, Administration for Industry and Commerce, labor unions, Food and Drug Administration, Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, etc. to share the local efforts on promoting breastfeeding. During the seminar, representatives from local government said breastfeeding in Guiyang continues to rise under the active promotion of Department of Health and Human Services but is still hampered by problems of population migration, lack of knowledge, unethical promotion of breast-milk substitutes, etc. The research team later visited Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital of Guiyang City and breast-milk substitutes market.



The research team visited Zhijin County under Bijie City to understand the situation in Zhijin County Health Center and Zhijin County Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital on April 20. A seminar is held with departments of local government for sharing the experienceChina Development Research Foundation Breastfeeding Project will start the following key tasks with partners in the next phase:


●Study the domestic situation of breastfeeding, understand the factors affecting breastfeeding and use as evidence to develop intervention.


● Build networking platform for breastfeeding.


●Use research evidence and results of intervention as evidences for policy advocacy.


●lPromote public awareness of breastfeeding.










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