United Nations World Health Organization
Infant and Child Nutrition
Republic of Azerbaijan
The Republic of Azerbaijan believes that children are the future. Increasing the nutrition of infants is essential to ensure that children are able to survive and thrive in adulthood. Lack of nutrition in early childhood can lead to stunted development. Around 3 million children die annually due to malnutrition. This issue stems from poverty. Poverty in early childhood can lead to insufficient nutrition and developmental delays and can hurt children’s progression in school and therefore children’s futures. UNICEF targets malnutrition by supporting breastfeeding, appropriate complementary foods for infants over 6 months, and micronutrient supplementation for women and children. The World Health Organization dictates that every child and infant has the right to nutritious food, yet many children worldwide have not been granted this right.
The Government of Azerbaijan takes pride in its efforts to support children’s rights. Azerbaijan is working to improve child nutrition in our own country. The national prevalence of under-five stunting is 17.8% and, the national prevalence of under-five overweight is 14.1%. We cooperate with various international organizations to protect child rights. Azerbaijan works with the United Nations Childrenś Fund (UNICEF) to submit periodic reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the implementation of these commitments. UNICEF started working in Azerbaijan in October 1993. The 5 year UNICEF country program cover 2005-2009, focusing on child health and nutrition among other things. A flour fortification law was introduced in 2017 but has yet to be put into effect. 12.1% of infants under 6 months in Azerbaijan are exclusively breastfed. We are working to increase that percentage. The Ministry of Health created a National Breastfeeding Week in October to promote the benefits of breastfeeding for young children’s nutrition.
Azerbaijan urges the fortification of flour to improve child nutrition. Azerbaijan hopes to address the prevalence of anemia in young children through food fortification and believes that other countries should follow suit. Azerbaijan recommends the implementation of ad campaigns to increase public knowledge about breastfeeding and overall child nutrition. Azerbaijan requests funding to train primary health centre-level paediatricians on infant and young child feeding and the monitoring of child development. Azerbaijan wants to ensure that the National Code on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes is in line with international standards and enforced. Azerbaijan also would like to encourage the use of micronutrient supplementation to address nutritional deficiencies.
- Josie Ness