Photo of the Week: World Breastfeeding Week 2014

Photo: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children

Hawa, successfully gave birth to a baby boy, 20 minutes old, at a Save the Children supported clinic in Peterstown, Margibi county, Liberia. Hawa is an inpatient at a new Maternal Waiting Home built by Save the Children at Peterstown clinic. The Maternal Waiting Home provides pregnant women with a place to stay, at the clinic, in their final week before delivery to ensure they get the proper professional care they need. Save the Children works with the county health team in Margibi, Liberia, enabling clinics to provide antenatal and postnatal care services, immunisation programmes and delivery of babies, as well as supporting nutritional feeding programmes with other partners.

Hawa stayed in the Maternal Waiting Home at Peterstown Clinic Margibi County Liberia for two weeks before giving birth. She lives in Ansa Town, about three hours walk from the clinic. This is her third child, she has two boys aged five and three. She delivered them at home in her village, before women were encouraged to come to the clinic. Now women like to come to the clinic, because they can stay at the home and feel safer. Two of Hawa’s friends are also staying at the clinic and waiting to give birth. She says "We are taken care of here, we are treated well, we feel at home." 

Today marks the start of the annual World Breastfeeding Week. Coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, this year’s theme calls for the protection, promotion, and support for breastfeeding as we draw close to the 500 day mark for the Millennium Development Goals. Events are planned in over 170 countries.  

To coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, a new breastfeeding brochure, Early Initiation of Breastfeeding, was release to provide an overview of why breastfeeding is important and what some of the challenges to wider implementation are. It was developed by WHO and UNICEF along with 15 other organizations. 

Breastfeeding also features prominently in the recently launched Every Newborn action plan. Under Strategic Objective 2, it calls for rectifying the shortage of breastfeeding counsellors. The plan also places emphasis on the role of the private sector in protecting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding and conforming to the provisions of the International Code of Marketing Breastfeeding Substitutes. Importantly, Every Newborn sets the nutritional goal of 50% exclusive breastfeeding in all countries by 2025. As countries work to sharpen their existing health plans to meet the coverage goals of Every Newborn, lets work to support them and improve their efforts to scale up this critical intervention. 

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