Improving Infant Nutrition, Health, and Survival

Policy and Program Implications from the Malaysian Family Life Survey

by William Butz, Jean-Pierre Habicht, Julie DaVanzo

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Abstract

Research findings from this 1976-1977 survey are focused on specific implications for public programs in the areas of health, nutrition, family planning, water, and sanitation. As an example, breastfeeding is far more important to survival for infants who live in communities without modern water and toilet facilities; hence programs to encourage breastfeeding should focus on these communities. Also, some sectors of the Malaysian population have not sufficiently increased their use of modern contraceptives to compensate for a marked reduction in breastfeeding. This has resulted in shorter birthspacing, and therefore in lower birthweights and higher infant mortality. Monitoring the condition of these groups could enhance their well-being. These and other findings are reported in detail in other RAND publications; the ones summarized here are those that should be most immediately useful to policymakers and program managers.

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