Community Health Toolkit

Mapping Exclusive Breastfeeding in Africa: 2000 to 2017

I wanted to share this recent article from the Local Burden of Disease team at the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation illustrating exclusive breastfeeding from 2000 to 2017 in Sub-Saharan Africa. By mapping at a 5x5 resolution, we are able to better identify areas within countries that have lower rates of EBF and to identify geographic patterns across regions that have changed over time. Of particular interest is IHME’s finding that:

“only 37% of infants under 6 months of age in Africa were exclusively breastfed in 2017”

and that while:

“Previous national-level analyses found that most countries will not meet the World Health Organization’s Global Nutrition Target of 50% EBF prevalence by 2025…[IHME’s] analyses show that even fewer will achieve this ambition in all subnational areas”

These findings speak to the need for more localized solutions to address EBF coverage within countries amongst the most remote or vulnerable populations.

Here is the link to the article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-019-0525-0

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Very interesting work! I was looking at a similar study mapping diarrheal disease in 5km squares. The question I’m always thinking when I read this kind of ‘precision public health’ study is, what can we do about it? The answers are a lot less obvious for precision public health in general than for precision medicine. I think the work we’re doing in community health presents some of the most interesting opportunities though, because of the way that community health integrates public health insights and clinical care, and because of the potential for CHT apps to direct the health worker’s day to day activities based on more precise understanding of disease patterns.

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