Empowerment of rural women and girls: How breastfeeding and skilled lactation support can empower rural women and improve health outcomes
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) has issued a joint statement urging governments, especially health ministers, and political leaders to invest in the future of rural women and girls. It explains the importance of developing policies for “sustainable practices that increase access to quality care, including skilled breastfeeding support, before, during, and after childbirth”.
The statement points out that “Breastfeeding empowers women, including rural women and girls, to provide their children with optimal nutrition, improve child survival, and promote long-term health for both mother and child. Breastfeeding is the foundation of life”.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding has the capacity to save over 800,000 infant lives per year. The WHO points out that human milk is vitally important as it is always clean, readily available, requires no access to fuel, clean water, or electricity, and is environmentally sustainable. Human milk provides reliable and sustainable nutrition for optimal growth of infants, while protecting them from infection and food insecurity in risky environments.
Breastmilk plays a key role in the health of both women and infants, and not breastfeeding has serious negative consequences in areas where women have poor access to health care, especially for rural women and their children.
Having skilled support for breastfeeding is a critical part of empowering women and improving health outcomes.
The full statement can be read here:
1 World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. ILCA, ABM, and WABA Joint Statement for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) – Empowerment of rural women and girls: How breastfeeding and skilled lactation support can empower rural women and improve health outcomes. 16 March 2018, http://waba.org.my/ilca-abm-and-waba-joint-statement-for-the-commission-on-the-status-of-women-csw62/ (accessed 16 March 2008)
3 World Health Organization. Increasing breastfeeding could save 800 000 children and US$ 300 billion every year. 2016, http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/news_events/news/2016/exclusive-breastfeeding/en/ (accessed 17 March 2018).