The World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a week set aside annually to advocate for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. It is celebrated every year from the 1st to the 7th of August. This advocacy is based on the Innocenti Declarations, the ten links for nurturing the Future program and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. The WBW is usually co-ordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Actions (WABA), a conglomerate of individuals and organisations concerned with propagating the breastfeeding message.
This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: A key to sustainable development,” was chosen particularly because it aligned Breastfeeding with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. The SDGs were created last year at the United Nations congress, after the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Breastfeeding messages for this year’s WBW explored how breastfeeding could help to achieve these SDGs, all 17 of them.
The week was full of activities as different Non-governmental organizations around the world used this window to advocate and promote breastfeeding. Silver Lining Initiative (SLNI) also used the opportunity to advocate for good breastfeeding practices. SLNI implemented projects, in commemoration of the Breastfeeding week, in communities within and outside Abuja.
Dutse Alhaji PHC and Wuse market, Abuja F.C.T.
On Monday, 1st of August SLNI visited the Primary Healthcare Centre in Dutse-Alhaji, Abuja. It was immunization day for babies so the SLNI team met nursing mothers at the hospital. SLNI used this opportunity to advocate to mothers about breastfeeding week, informing mothers on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for the baby in the first six months and how that would fulfil SDG 2 (end hunger and achieve improved nutrition).
They were also taught proper handwashing techniques, and how important it is for their hands to be clean before they breastfeed their babies. This cleanliness culture is in line with SDG 6, (to achieve clean water and sanitation).
Over 50 nursing mothers were in attendance on Monday morning. Stickers bearing the World Breastfeeding Week theme and the 2016-2017 calendar were handed out to the women who contributed actively to the discussions.
From there, the SLNI team moved to Wuse market in Abuja. Our team was able to speak to people coming in and out of the market. Men were not excluded as they asked the team on what they could do to help their pregnant wives and nursing mothers.
Mangu L.G.A Primary Healthcare Centres, Plateau state
On Wednesday, the 3rd of August 2016, SLNI, in partnership with Manumar Foundation carried out safe delivery programs concurrently at four Primary Health Care centres in Mangu Local Government Area (L.G.A) in Plateau state. These primary health care centres are located each in Maraba Pushiti, Janaraht, Kadunu and Panyam communities.
The programmes educateded pregnant women, living in the communities about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, the different stages of pregnancy and good nutrition during pregnancy. The team also spoke to them about the importance of routine immunization, family planning, and personal hygiene. The health talks were concluded with a demonstration in proper hand washing and proper breastfeeding practices. Four hundred birthing kits and four hundred mosquito nets were distributed to pregnant women present at these community programs.
The program was a success and the women expressed their joy to SLNI and Manumar Foundation for organizing such a program.
Sakwaya PHC, Dutse, Jigawa state
On Friday, the 5th of August 2016, Silver Lining initiative (SLNI) carried out a community health program at the Sakwaya primary healthcare centre in Dutse Local Government Area, Dutse, Jigawa state. The program was aimed at promoting health and awareness especially by educating the nursing mothers, who were present, on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding and demonstrating proper breastfeeding positioning. SLNI also discussed the importance of child spacing, the essence of personal hygiene and clean environment. These were explained in the the sustainable development goals. The program ended with the distribution of safe delivery kits to the pregnant women present.
In conclusion, SLNI communicated the theme of World breastfeeding week to everyone in all of her programs during the week as follows; breastfeeding is important, it is key to sustainable development in the society and to the development of babies who are our future leaders.