August 1-7, is World Breastfeeding Week 2009. This year the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), and breastfeeding advocates in...
August 1-7, is World Breastfeeding Week 2009. This year the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), and breastfeeding advocates in more than 150 countries worldwide will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) for the 18th year - that's huge. The focus of this year's events are related, in part to breastfeeding during emergencies. WABA is teaming up with the Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) and the International Baby Food Action Network-Geneva Infant Feeding Association (IBFAN-GIFA) to call for the active protection and support of breastfeeding during emergencies and the prevention and refusal of donations of breast milk substitutes, bottles and nipples, which the teams notes can often do more harm than good for babies. Each year, World Breastfeeding Week promotes a new theme. As noted above this year's theme is breast milk in times of crisis and emergency. The objectives of this year's theme includes:
  • To reinforce the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergency response worldwide.
  • To advocate for active protection and support of breastfeeding before and during emergencies.
  • To inform mothers, breastfeeding advocates, communities, health professionals, governments, aid agencies, donors, and the media, about how they can actively support breastfeeding before and during an emergency.
  • To mobilize action and promote networking and collaboration between those with breastfeeding management skills and those involved in emergency response.
Why is breastfeeding in times of crisis so vital for babies... No one and no place is ‘immune’ to an emergency. Emergencies can happen anywhere in the world. Whatever the emergency – from earthquake to conflict, from flood to flu pandemic – babies still need food and care that breastfeeding provides. In emergencies, infants and young children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition, illness and death. The WABA notes some statistics...
  • Published total mortality rates for infants under one year of age in emergencies are much higher than at ordinary times, ranging from 12% to 53%.
  • In a large-scale therapeutic feeding program in Niger in 2005, 95% of the 43,529 malnourished cases admitted for therapeutic care were children less than two years of age2.
  • In a therapeutic feeding program in Afghanistan, the mortality rate was 17.2% amongst infants under 6 months of age admitted for therapeutic care.
  • During the first three months of conflict in Guinea-Bissau in 1998, the death rate amongst 9–20 month old non-breastfed children was six times higher than amongst the children of the same age-group who were breastfed.
Coming up some common misconceptions and myths about breastfeeding and breast milk in emergency situations, what you can do to celebrate the week, and tips for successful breastfeeding.

Tags: breast milk times of crisis breastfeeding week world breastfeeding week

recommended for you