The overall goals of the Eritrean Policy on Infant and Young Child Feeding are to: Provide national standards that must be adhered to by all institutions, organizations and individuals having contact with pregnant or lactating women and children 0-24 months.
• Create an environment that encourages appropriate maternal and infant and young child feeding, at national, zoba and sub-zoba level; i.e. in health facilities, in the private sector, in the media, in all public activities, in communities and at family-level.
• Enhance protection, promotion and support to optimal nutrition for pregnant women, lactating mothers and their children under two, thereby contribute to the reduction of child malnutrition, morbidity and mortality and ensuring the healthy development of Eritrean children and its nation.
The objectives of these guidelines are:
• To stress the importance of good maternal nutrition on the nutritional status of her unborn or lactating child.
• To increase rates of early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond.
• To reduce mixed feeding before six months and starting at 6 months, promote timely, adequate, safe and appropriate complementary feeding with continued breastfeeding.
• To give effect to the principles and aim of the International Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes (BMS) and to subsequent relevant Health Assembly Resolutions.
• To give effect to the principles and aim of the revised International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention and its recommendations.
• Contribute to the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS through correct breastfeeding practices.
• To provide guidance on IYCF in exceptionally difficult circumstances
• To create awareness on child survival strategies that significantly contribute to the reduction of malnutrition-related childhood morbidity and mortality hence contribute to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 1 and 4.
• To encourage commitment of all stakeholders to optimal IYCF.
• To create a supportive environment conducive to optimal IYCF