HAVANA.- World Breastfeeding Week is starting in Cuba Wednesday to highlight the importance of this practice that protects newborns from deadly diseases.

Designed to ensure the growth, development and survival of children through one of the most effective and least expensive means available, the week is being marked under the motto 'Breastfeeding, pillar of life'.

Educational meetings with community participation and mass organizations, as well as scientific events held islandwide aim to muster support from different social sectors to protect and promote this method of infant feeding that means health for all life.

During these days the offices of the family doctor program, polyclinics, maternity homes and hospitals will host inforative sessions for pregnant women and their companions about the need to breastfeed during the first six months of life, and as a complement, until the child reaches two years of age.

Scientific evidence shows that breastfeeding plays a key role in averting noncommunicable diseases.

Among other benefits, breast milk provides a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat – for the child to grow, it contains antibodies to fight off viruses and bacteria, and it is scientifically proven that babies breast fed exclusively during the first six months, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.