The World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed that 1.5 million infants die annually, unnecessarily, from deprival or from insufficiency of breast milk. Hence, the need for its maximal use, very particularly in impoverished populations, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa. In many developed populations, a generation ago the practice was very low, but now it has risen considerably. In contrast, in Africa and in most developing populations, despite the far greater need for breast-feeding, the practice is tending to decrease, especially among urban mothers. While the most common reasons given concern insufficiency of breast milk and employment of mothers, the latter, especially urban mothers, are under strong and increasing pressure to use proprietary replacement foods. These are often made up unsatisfactorily and are contaminated. Also influential are the often less than enthusiastic, and confusing, attitudes of staff at clinics and hospitals, albeit, due in part to their very heavy workloads. Additionally, there is societyp's relatively indifferent attitude to breast-feeding. Currently, a hugely adverse factor is the danger of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transference from seropositive mothers to their infants – in some African countries almost half of antenatal mothers are infected. Chances of early control of the infection are remote. However, apart from this danger, and from the pressure from replacement food companies, the outlook for breast-feeding practice in many African countries is unlikely to improve significantly until greater encouragement is given from State, local and other health authorities.