“Making A Difference- An Evaluation Report of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) in Mobilising National Actions on Breastfeeding and IYCF: 2020”.

Date: 12 June 2020, 01:00 PM (GMT)

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While breastfeeding offers innumerable health, development and economic benefits to both the mother and child, and nations;globally only 41% of infants of 0-6 months are exclusively breastfed. The World Health Assembly in 2002 adopted the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding that urged countries to improve breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding practices through concrete plans with funding and monitoring.Later the Assembly set a target to increase exclusive breastfeeding to50% by 2025. It underlines the need for every country to increase rates of optimal breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding practices. For this to happen, the Governments need to pay attention to the policies and programmes to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, especially commit to funding; even more effectively given the times of Covid-19.

The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) assists countries to assess and monitor the status of and benchmark the progress in implementation of the Global Strategy in a standard way. The WBTi is based on the WHO’s “ Tool for national assessment of policy and programmes on infant and young child feeding” and `1measures ten parameters of policy and programmes that protect, promote and support optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices. It identifies gaps and calls upon governments to bridge these. WBTi maintains a Global Data Repository of the policies and programmes in 98 countries.

During 2019, the WBTi Global secretariat did an evaluation through its national partnersto find out how WBTi works in mobilising national actions to strengthen implementation of the global strategy. The report being launched on June 12 provides you with key results, challenges and lessons.
The Global Breastfeeding Collectivehas been set up to work on the targets to increase exclusive breastfeeding, and UNICFE and WHO lead it. The Collective recommends monitoring of the policy and programmes on infant and young child feeding with a target ,“At least three-quarters of the countries of the world should be able to conduct a WBTi assessment every five years by 2030.”

The report presents WBTi as a valid tool to measure policies and generate local action. Listen to the voices from WHO, UNICEF, International Baby Food Action Network(IBFAN) Africa and Latin America and ask questions.

It will be helpful to governments, donors, UN Agencies, international organisations working for mothers and children, and IBFAN as well as other breastfeeding groups, academic institutions and health and lactation professionals in every country.

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