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Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF)-giving infants only breast-milk (and medications, oral rehydration salts and vitamins as needed) with no additional food or drink for their first six months of life-is one of the most effective strategies for preventing child mortality1-4. Despite these advantages, only 37% of infants under 6 months of age in Africa were exclusively breastfed in 20175, and the practice of EBF varies by population. Here, we present a fine-scale geospatial analysis of EBF prevalence and trends in 49 African countries from 2000-2017, providing policy-relevant administrative- and national-level estimates. Previous national-level analyses found that most countries will not meet the World Health Organization's Global Nutrition Target of 50% EBF prevalence by 20256. Our analyses show that even fewer will achieve this ambition in all subnational areas. Our estimates provide the ability to visualize subnational EBF variability and identify populations in need of additional breastfeeding support.

Original publication





Nature medicine

Publication Date





1205 - 1212


Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


Humans, HIV Infections, Prevalence, Breast Feeding, Time Factors, Infant, Infant, Newborn, World Health Organization, Africa, Female, Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical