World Breastfeeding Week
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Dr. Saumil Patel
World Breastfeeding Week
Breast-milk needs no introduction. It is the coolest drink of our time. And lets admit it - we've all had our share. Have no doubts! The first drinks you had in life does define you as a person!What's more if you don't get this precious drink you may end up dead. Yes, globally 12% of deaths in children under 5 years is due to their (non) drinking problems.
But lets face it, some kids miss this most popular and acceptable cocktail (of nutrients) just because their moms are not able to feed them. Why because they can't combine breastfeeding and work. Look around you, how many formal or non-formal work environments have a place for mothers to breastfeed. How many work places have creche? How many employees provide flexible schedules for working mothers? (you need a microscope to find them in India)
"Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby’s right to breastfeed," says this global agency called The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). It is one of the many groups working to foster a strong and cohesive breastfeeding movement to help change breastfeeding patterns. Every year, an event is organised to draw attention to the vital importance of breastfeeding its called World Breast Feeding week. The first week in August is earmarked globally to mobilize support for breastfeeding.
Last year WABA and its partners at global, regional and national levels had called for action on Breastfeeding and Work -- Let’s make it work!
The aim of #WBW2015 was to empower and support ALL women, working in both the formal and informal sectors, to adequately combine work with child-upbringing, particularly breastfeeding. Experts say that of the approximately 830 million women workers in the world, the majority do not benefit from workplace policies that support nursing mothers.

Women drive healthcare in India as in other countries. More than 75% of the workers in hospitals are women. Hospitals are the places where good healthcare habits breed. If you have been reading your newspapers right, most of the hospitals in India both in public and private sector have been waving #world breastfeeding day flag for the past few days. Some are organising events, others are educating patients, sensitizing the public at large on the benefits of breastfeeding.
But if you ask around none of them have breastfeeding friendly environment. For starters, none of them have dedicated creche for staff or child feeding center.

How can women in healthcare "make it work". Corporate hospitals who are at constant war with their competitors to be “bigger and better” never think of being hospitable to their own staff. And then they wonder why the staff attrition rate is so high. Talk about unmet needs.

While all the acronyms (WHO, UNICEF, ILO and the likes) galvanize support to tackle barriers to breastfeeding. Shouldn’t' healthcare workplace lead the change? What are the Indian hospitals waiting for?