(Comment from me below)
Joint message: UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
31 July 2020 Statement
The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”...
Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.
Skilled counselling services can ensure that mothers and families receive this support, along with the information, the advice, and the reassurance they need to nourish their babies optimally...
Improving access to skilled counselling for breastfeeding can extend the duration of breastfeeding and promote exclusive breastfeeding, with benefits for babies, families and economies. Indeed, analysis indicates that increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding could save the lives of 820 000 children every year, generating US $302 billion in additional income...
UNICEF and WHO, in line with the policy actions advocated by the UNICEF-WHO-led Global Breastfeeding Collective, are calling on governments to:
INVEST to make skilled breastfeeding counselling available to every woman. Ensuring availability of skilled breastfeeding counselling to every woman will require increased financing for breastfeeding programmes and improved monitoring and implementation of policies, programmes and services.
TRAIN health care workers, including midwives and nurses, to deliver skilled breastfeeding counselling to mothers and families.
ENSURE that counselling is made available as part of routine health and nutrition services that are easily accessible.
PARTNER and collaborate with civil society and health professional associations, building strong collaborative systems for provision of appropriate counselling.
PROTECT health care workers from the influence of the baby food industry.
Together, through commitment, concerted action and collaboration, we can ensure that every mother has access to skilled breastfeeding counselling, empowering her to give her baby the best possible start in life.
COMMENT (Neil): All of us have a role to help ensure that every mother and father, every health worker, and every policymaker has the information they need to promote the optimum infant nutrition, and to protect people from rampant and dangerous misinformation from some manufacturers of infant formula, motivated by profit at the expense of child health. This is a complex and ongoing challenge. It has been, and will continue to be, an important part of the CHIFA remit. I look forward to explore how we can contribute further to these objectives.
Best wishes, Neil
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CHIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All) and assistant moderator of the CHIFA forum. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG firstname.lastname@example.org