This year, the 71st World Health Assembly embraced the annual celebration of the World Breastfeeding Week by Member States as a valuable way to advocate for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, and provides the opportunity for governments, decision-makers, development partners, professional bodies, academia, media, advocates and other stakeholders to strengthen actions to support breastfeeding as an essential part of good nutrition, food security and poverty reduction.
This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life”, recognizes that breastfeeding is a universal solution that gives everyone a fair start in life and lays the foundation for good health and survival of children and women.
In their World Breastfeeding Week 2018 Message, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore call for more action from governments, health systems, workplaces, communities and families to protect, promote and support breastfeeding to provide children the opportunity to thrive.
This year, UNICEF and WHO also jointly launched a report on the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding – putting newborns to the breast within the first hour of life – and how it safeguards against newborn deaths, and helps to establish exclusive breastfeeding – feeding infants nothing but breastmilk for the first six months of life.
The 2018 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard released by the UNICEF and WHO-led Global Breastfeeding Collective partnership emphasizes that more work needs to be done by governments, donors and other decision makers to create an enabling and supportive environment for women everywhere to breastfeed by advancing policies and implementing effective programmes.
Breastfeeding is indeed the foundation for life and provides children the opportunity to thrive. Women need support from their governments, health systems, workplaces, communities and families to make it work. Together, we must act now to implement comprehensive programmes that enable women everywhere to breastfeed for as long as they want to.
Join us in celebrating the World Breastfeeding Week 2018 (1-7 August) by committing to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.
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