In Bangladesh, World Breastfeeding Week(1-7 August) has been observed by the Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation in collaboration with MoHFW since 1992. This year’s theme for World Breast Feeding Week is- “ Breastfeeding and work, Let’s make it work!” which highlights the importance of breastfeeding in the working place. The Innocenti Declaration (1990) recognized that breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants and contributes to their healthy growth and development. There is much that remains to be done despite 25 years of hard work, particularly on the fourth Innocenti target that calls on governments to “…enact imaginative legislation protecting the breastfeeding rights of working women and establish means for its enforcement”.
With the WBW 2015 campaign, WABA and its partners at global, regional and national levels aim to empower and support all women, working in both the formal and informal sectors, to adequately combine work with child-rearing, particularly breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a collective right of both women and children, it falls within the right framework of women’s ‘reproductive rights’ developed at the United Nations International Conference on Human Rights (1968) and re-endorsed over the years in several other international instruments. From a human rights perspective , this means that the state the primary duty bearer is under the obligation of enabling all women to enjoy their reproductive rights to safe maternity and optimal breastfeeding.
2015 WBW Brief Description
Breastfeeding is uniquely a right of women and they should be supported by society to breastfeed. Men and other women and young people can assist mothers and mother support groups to continue breast feeding exclusively up to six months and thereafter with home-made complimentary foods up to 2 years. With the view of ensuring breastfeeding, World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) has been organized since 1992 in Bangladesh by Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation in collaboration with Ministry of Health and family welfare and Institute of Public Health Nutrition. In 2009 the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh inaugurated the WBW and declared that BBF will jointly work with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in the area of Breastfeeding, Complementary Feeding & Maternal Nutrition activities. By the declaration of the Honorable Prime Minister, WBW has been observed as a National Event for last five years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014) and BBF has the honor to be the key partner in organizing all the events along with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and institute of Public Health Nutrition.
This year WABA has announced the theme/slogan for WBW 2015 ‘Breastfeeding and work, Let’s make it work!’ asserting the importance of breastfeeding in the working place of the mother. The WBW 2015 theme on working women and breastfeeding revisits the 1993 WBW campaign on the Mother-Friendly Workplace Initiative. Much has been achieved in 22 years of global action supporting women in combining breastfeeding and work, particularly the adoption of the revised ILO Convention 183 on Maternity Protection with much stronger maternity entitlements, and more country actions on improving national laws and practices. At the workplace level, we have also seen more actions taken to set up breastfeeding or mother-friendly workplaces including awards for breastfeeding-friendly employers, as well as greater mass awareness on working women’s rights to breastfeed.
The inauguration ceremony of WBW 2015 was held on 2nd August and Honorable Health Minister of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh inaugurated the WBW 2015 to encourage celebrating the WBW with active participation. His presence brought all possible support to make the event successful and make further advancement in Infant and young child feeding (IYCF) movement in Bangladesh. A Nutrition fair was also arranged during the inauguration. Bangladesh television telecast (live) the inauguration ceremony.
Like every year World Breastfeeding Week was celebrated all over the Countries. Medical College and Hospitals, different government and non government organizations, stakeholders and UN agencies organized seminar, workshop and nutrition fair. Besides this Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar telecast different talk show on WBW, 2015.
Though we have achieved a lot, there is still need to do a lot. We are confident that this report will stimulate better informed decision making and delivery toward optimal breastfeeding in the working places practices throughout the Bangladesh.