Press Release:- World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign to raise awareness and incite action on themes related to breastfeeding. It honours the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
World Breastfeeding Week started in 1992 and is observed annually during the first week of August and National Breastfeeding Month is observed for the entire month of August throughout many nations in the world.
WBW has been aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2016.
This year, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action has selected the theme: Protect
Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility. The theme is aligned with Sustainable Development
Goal 2030 campaign, which highlights the associations between breastfeeding and survival, health and wellbeing of women, children and nations.
This year’s objectives are to:
Inform people about the importance of protecting breastfeeding.
Anchor breastfeeding. support as a vital public health responsibility.
Engage with individuals and organizations for greater impact.
Galvanize action on protecting breastfeeding to improve public health
PAHO’s Observations for World Breastfeeding Week will primarily focus on the international Code of Marketing of Breast-milk substitutes. This Code was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981, to protect families from the infant formula industry’s aggressive marketing tactics, aimed at promoting breast-milk substitutes, which was contributing to declining breastfeeding rates and increasing child morbidity and mortality.
The aim of the Code is “to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breast-milk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.
This year, 2021, is the 40th anniversary of the Code. UNICEF and WHO have called on governments, health workers, and the baby food industry to fully implement and abide by the Code’s requirements:
Governments must enact and enforce legislation to prevent commercial interests from undermining breastfeeding, the optimal nutrition for infants.
Health workers must protect, promote and support breastfeeding; they must not accept sponsorship from companies that market foods for infants and young children for scholarships, awards, grants, meetings, or events.
Another focus is on the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative: this initiative was launched in 1991 by PAHO and UNICEF and has helped to motivate facilities providing maternity and newborn services worldwide to better support breastfeeding.
The BFHI is based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Adherence to the Ten Steps, positively impacts breastfeeding initiation and duration, as well as breastfeeding outcome.
PAHO recommends that health facilities implement measures to protect, promote
and support breastfeeding starting in the period of antenatal care up to when mothers and newborns are discharged.
Breastfeeding has many benefits and therefore expectant and nursing mothers require special protection such as Maternity Protection to enable breastfeeding and empower parents to successfully breastfeed their infants.
Therefore, WHO recommends that employers implement policies including paid maternity
leave, flexible or reduced working hours for breastfeeding mothers, and a dedicated room for breastfeeding in the workplace that is private and hygienic.
This will create a positive environment that will increase breastfeeding rates, which will have a positive impact on the health of our infants and the nation as a whole.