8.16. Over the next 20 years, through international cooperation and national programmes, the gap between average infant and child mortality rates in the developed and the developing regions of the world should be substantially narrowed, and disparities within countries, those between geographical regions, ethnic or cultural groups, and socio-economic groups should be eliminated. Countries with indigenous people should achieve infant and under-5 mortality levels among their indigenous people that are the same as those of the general population. Countries should strive to reduce their infant and under-5 mortality rates by one third, or to 50 and 70 per 1,000 live births, respectively, whichever is less, by the year 2000, with appropriate adaptation to the particular situation of each country. By 2005, countries with intermediate mortality levels should aim to achieve an infant mortality rate below 50 deaths per 1,000 and an under-5 mortality rate below 60 deaths per 1,000 births. By 2015 all countries should aim to achieve an infant mortality rate below 35 per 1,000 live births and an under-5 mortality rate below 45 per 1,000. Countries that achieve these levels earlier should strive to lower them further.

8.17. All Governments should assess the underlying causes of high child mortality and should, within the framework of primary health care, extend integrated reproductive health-care and child-health services, including safe motherhood, child-survival programmes and family-planning services, to all the population and particularly to the most vulnerable and underserved groups. Such services should include prenatal care and counselling, with special emphasis on high-risk pregnancies and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection; adequate delivery assistance; and neonatal care, including exclusive breast-feeding, information on optimal breast-feeding and on proper weaning practices, and the provision of micronutrient supplementation and tetanus toxoid, where appropriate. Interventions to reduce the incidence of low birth weight and other nutritional deficiencies, such as anaemia, should include the promotion of maternal nutrition through information, education and counselling and the promotion of longer intervals between births. All countries should give priority to efforts to reduce the major childhood diseases, particularly infectious and parasitic diseases, and to prevent malnutrition among children, especially the girl child, through measures aimed at eradicating poverty and ensuring that all children live in a sanitary environment and by disseminating information on hygiene and nutrition. It is also important to provide parents with information and education about child care, including the use of mental and physical stimulation.

8.18. For infants and children to receive the best nutrition and for specific protection against a range of diseases, breast-feeding should be protected, promoted and supported. By means of legal, economic, practical and emotional support, mothers should be enabled to breast-feed their infants exclusively for four to six months, without food or drink supplementation and to continue breast-feeding infants with appropriate and adequate complementary food up to the age of two years or beyond. To achieve these goals, Governments should promote public information on the benefits of breast-feeding; health personnel should receive training on the management of breast-feeding; and countries should examine ways and means to implement fully the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes.

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