Image: www.pedaids.org

Image: www.pedaids.org

The 2016 World Breast feeding week began on Monday.

The World Breast Feeding week is an annual celebration to improve sensitisation on breastfeeding that runs from August 1 to August 7 August in more than 120 countries.

The celebration was pronounced in 1992 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and is currently being observed by such bodies as UNICEF, WHO and their partners.

As the world came together to begin this year’s celebration on Monday, UNICEF’s Executive Director, Anthony Lake, and WHO Director General Margaret Chan stated on WABA official website that “breastfeeding is not only the cornerstone of a child’s healthy development, it is also the foundation of a country’s development.”

The statement further noted that “supporting breastfeeding is one of the smartest investments countries can make in the well-being of their citizens — and thus, in their own long-term strength.”

The theme for this year’s celebration centers on how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our well-being from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.

According to UNICEF, breastfeeding boosts a child’s health, IQ score, school performance and earnings as an adult.

The objectives of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, according to WABA’s official website are:

1. INFORM

To inform people about the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they relate to breastfeeding and Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF).

2. FIRMLY ANCHOR

To firmly anchor breastfeeding as a key component of sustainable development.

3. GALVANISE

To galvanise a variety of actions at all levels on breastfeeding and IYCF in the new era of the SDGs.

4. ENGAGE

To engage and collaborate with a wider range of actors around promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding.

Individuals numbering up to 473, governments and organisations have pledged and would be hosting events to observe the week this year.

Author: Ope Adedeji