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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


AGUAYO, Víctor M. et al. The monetary value of breast milk in Bolivia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.10, n.4, pp.249-256. ISSN 1680-5348.

Objective. To estimate the volume of breast milk consumed by Bolivian children under 36 months of age, and the monetary value of replacing that volume of breast milk with commercial substitutes. Methods. The analysis took into account the distribution of the infant population by age groups, the prevalence of breast-feeding practices (exclusive or partial) in every age group, the average volume of breast milk consumed by the infants of a given age group, and the cost of breast milk production and replacement. Results. Bolivian infants annually consume more than 161 million liters of breast milk, which represents an average volume of 573 mL/day per infant under 1 year of age. The monetary value of breast milk consumed by the Bolivian infants amounts to US$ 274 million annually. The average cost of replacing breast milk with commercial substitutes for an infant adequately breast-fed for the first year of life would be US$ 407. Discussion. For the formulation and consolidation of policies and programs to protect, promote, and support breast-feeding to become a reality, it is necessary that the political leaders of Bolivia be aware of the enormous monetary value of breast milk.

Keywords : Lactancia materna; Bolivia.

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