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Perhaps the most effective way to reduce infant mortality would be to encourage uptake of two readily available resources: maternal vaccinations and breast milk.For example, while the flu shot is not approved for infants younger than 6 months old, clinical trials have shown that children born to mothers who have been vaccinated are better protected against the illness.A 2018 analysis of flu-vaccine trials conducted in Nepal, Mali and South Africa found that infants were 20 percent less likely to develop pneumonia if their mothers had been inoculated.These advantages continue for as long as a baby is breastfed.Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding. If the international community is serious about meeting the health targets set by the Sustainable Development Goals, it must redouble its efforts to encourage more mothers to be vaccinated against preventable illnesses and to feed their newborns breast milk. These two practices alone could do more to reduce infant mortality than just about any other global health initiative.
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