New Delhi: Every year, the first week of August (1–7) is commemorated as World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). The day also marks the Innocenti Declaration, signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and other organisations to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
History of World Breastfeeding Week
The World Health Organization and UNICEF jointly issued a statement in 1989 titled “Protecting, Promoting, and Supporting Breastfeeding: The Special Role of Maternity Services.” The benefits of breastfeeding were listed in the declaration, including those for mother and child health, environmental sustainability, and accessibility. WHO and UNICEF outlined steps for countries to change public perceptions about breastfeeding and strengthen cultural support for moms who choose to breastfeed.
Following this, in 1990, the Innocenti Declaration was signed by government policymakers, UN health agencies, and other organisations to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. In 1991, The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was formed as a global network, and since 1992, the world has marked Breastfeeding Week, annually. Since 1992, WBW has been running as a global campaign, marked in 170 countries, to raise awareness about breastfeeding, its benefits and galvanise action on issues related to it.
Theme of World Breastfeeding Week
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) marks World Breastfeeding Day with a different theme every year. This year, it has set a theme: “Enabling breastfeeding: making a difference for working parents.”
This year’s theme highlights the importance of providing parental leave, to enable mothers to exclusively breastfeed for six months and promote the involvement of fathers/partners in childcare and domestic work, resulting in gender-equitable parenting.
Over half a billion working women in the world are not given essential maternity protections in national laws, according to the WHO.
This year’s theme will focus on breastfeeding and work, providing a strategic opportunity to advocate for essential maternity rights that support breastfeeding, from providing adequate maternity leave to making workplace accommodations for the new mother.
Significance of World Breastfeeding Week
Here are the highlights of what Dr Roderico Ofrin said on the special show:
- Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival known to humankind. Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants, as it contains antibodies that protect them against several common childhood illnesses.
- It also provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first few months of life.
- Breastmilk provides nutrients for up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Children who are breastfed are less likely to fall ill, become overweight or obese, and develop diabetes later in life.
- Breastfed babies have a lower risk of acquiring urinary tract infections.
- Breastfeeding helps to prevent atopic diseases, including atopic eczema, food allergies, and respiratory allergies, throughout childhood and adolescence.
- The benefits of breastfeeding are not limited to children. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, anaemia, and osteoporosis among women.
- The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action states that breastfeeding provides emotional benefits for mothers and children.
- Breastfeeding enhances birth spacing, giving women more time to recover from childbirth and provide care for their newborn children.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.