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martedì, Luglio 16, 2024

Breastfeeding at Work: UNICEF and WHO Call for Greater Support

ROME, AUGUST 1 – “In the last 10 years, many countries have made significant progress in increasing breastfeeding rates. Even greater progress is possible when breastfeeding is protected and supported, especially in workplaces.” This is one of the key messages conveyed in a joint statement by Catherine Russell, Director-General of UNICEF, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), as they mark the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week today.

Exclusive breastfeeding rates have increased by 10%, reaching 48% globally in the last decade. However, to achieve the global target of 70% by 2030, the UN agencies assert that it is necessary to address the barriers that women and families face in achieving their breastfeeding goals.

This year, under the theme ‘Let’s make breastfeeding at work, work,’ UNICEF and WHO emphasize the need for broader support for breastfeeding in all workplaces to sustain and improve global breastfeeding rates. Numerous data indicate that breastfeeding rates significantly decline for women returning to work, but this negative impact can be reversed when workplaces facilitate mothers to continue breastfeeding their children.

Family-friendly workplace policies, such as paid maternity leave, breaks for breastfeeding, and designated lactation rooms, create environments that benefit not only working women and their families but also employers. The UN believes that these policies generate an economic return by reducing maternity-related absences from work, enabling women to retain their jobs, and lowering recruitment and training costs for new personnel.

From the earliest moments of a child’s life, breastfeeding is the most effective intervention for their survival and development. Breastfeeding protects children from common contagious diseases and strengthens their immune systems, providing key nutrients necessary for their growth and reaching their full potential. Furthermore, worldwide, children who are not breastfed have a 14 times higher chance of dying before the age of 5 compared to exclusively breastfed children.

In Italy, UNICEF promotes the program ‘Together for breastfeeding.’ Currently, 34 hospitals and 9 child-friendly communities are recognized by UNICEF, along with 4 breastfeeding-friendly university courses and over 1,000 Baby Pit Stops – spaces dedicated to all families where they can breastfeed and care for their children.

UNICEF and WHO urge governments, employers, and communities worldwide to implement supportive policies and practices that enable mothers to continue breastfeeding while working. By doing so, we can improve child health, contribute to a stronger workforce, and create a more sustainable and inclusive world for everyone. As the global community celebrates World Breastfeeding Week, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting breastfeeding and ensuring the health and well-being of mothers and children around the globe. (@OnuItalia)

OnuItalia
OnuItaliahttps://onuitalia.com
Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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