Leaders’ Support Key to Success of Breastfeeding Advocacy

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

This week, the Impatient Optimists blog, and a subsequent Facebook post by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, spotlighted the politics of breastfeeding promotion. For leaders who haven’t joined the cause to promote breast feeding, now is the time. It is estimated that over 800,000 child deaths in the developing world could be prevented if mothers are encouraged and supported with breastfeeding. These deaths can be avoided if we unite to support mothers in giving their children better lives from breast feeding.

In a recent study, Breast Feeding on a Worldwide Agenda, conducted among 44 health and nutrition actors across the globe, it has been revealed that leadership provides a pivotal role in guiding a unified advocacy initiative for breastfeeding. Stakeholders voiced common calls for stronger leadership, both individual and organizational, to advance political priority for breastfeeding programmes.

Interviewees noted challenges they have faced in their commitment to advancing breast feeding;

“There are virtually no resources at the international and national levels for breastfeeding support, despite the abundance of compelling evidence of its impact.”

The study calls for a significant scaling up of continuous advocacy, communication, and social mobilization to increase investment in optimum breast feeding in the developing world. Additionally, stakeholders called for effective leadership, notably from guiding institutions, to address the scale of issues.

Read full report here.

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