Breastfeeding and work

A day with health worker Elsebeth Aklilu


Breastfeeding is one of the most cost-effective ways to boost children’s health. World Breastfeeding Week 2015 aims to empower women to combine work with breastfeeding and raising their children.


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(Left) Elsebeth Aklilu weighs a child at a local health post. A government-paid health worker, Ms. Aklilu serves her own community — a village called Maderia, in Oromia Region, Ethiopia — by educating women on ways to keep themselves and their children healthy.

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Reversing the multidimensional causes of malnutrition — such as a lack of proper nutrition, breastfeeding, or family planning practices — is a large component of her work.

“I want to see the changes. That’s what keeps me in this job,” she says.
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Ms. Aklilu counsels Kedo Abdula, whose family planning helps her stay healthy while caring for and breastfeeding her 21-month-old daughter.

“My mother didn’t plan her children,” she says, “and I can see the differences between my childhood and my daughter’s.”
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Ms. Aklilu references a family health card while counselling a woman. The cards chart the health of a family’s children and also contain educational information about best health practices for children, including breastfeeding, as well as for the entire family.

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In addition to her tireless dedication to the children and women in her community, Ms. Aklilu makes time to use her knowledge to improve her own family’s health. Taking a break from work, she breastfeeds her 10-month-old son, Fikir Mekete.


Read more about UNICEF’s work on breastfeeding.