Open Access The monetary value of human milk in Francophone West Africa: A PROFILES analysis for nutrition policy communication

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Using a simple and conservative methodology, we estimated the volume and monetary value of the human milk produced by lactating women in Francophone West Africa. In that region, children zero to 35.9 months old consume over 1.1 billion liters of human milk per year. However, suboptimal breastfeeding practices account for the loss of 175 million liters of human milk annually. If the human milk consumed by children zero to 35.9 months old were to be adequately replaced using commercial breastmilk substitutes, an annual expenditure of about 2 billion US dollars would be needed. At the household level, the annual replacement cost of human milk would amount to US$412 per infant. This is beyond the reach of most families in West Africa, where as many as 61% of families in some countries live on less than one US dollar per day. Appropriate policies to foster breastfeeding need to be developed and adequately implemented. Such policy action is more likely to occur if decision makers fully appreciate the monetary value of human milk.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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