World Breastfeeding Week 2009

For this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, the IYCN Project joined partners around the globe to highlight the critical role of breastfeeding before and during emergencies worldwide. The theme was Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency ResponseAre you ready?

IYCN supports the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action’s call for increased efforts to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding in emergencies. During earthquakes, floods, conflicts, and other crises, good breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices save lives and prevent malnutrition and childhood illnesses. Visit the World Breastfeeding Week website.

To commemorate this important campaign, IYCN sent email updates and announcements on a variety of infant feeding topics and shared news about our activities in the field. 

Read a Q&A with CARE on infant feeding in emergencies.  

IYCN activities

Learn about IYCN’s World Breastfeeding Week activities below.

Zambia: Media campaign to promote exclusive breastfeeding

August 1 to 8, 2009

IYCN’s team in Zambia joined with nutrition partners to develop television and radio spots to promote exclusive breastfeeding to families. The spots debuted nationally during World Breastfeeding Week. The messages, which were in English and three local dialects (Tonga, Nyanja, and Bemba), have the potential for a very broad impact; national radio reaches 59% of women and 74% of men at least once a week, and national TV reaches 31% of women and 37% of men at least once a week1.

Additionally, to kick off World Breastfeeding Week, IYCN joined partners including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Ministry of Health, the National Food and Nutrition Commission, and others for a community celebration at the Chawama Health Centre near Lusaka to highlight the importance of good breastfeeding practices.

View the television spot from the campaign.

1Central Statistical Office, Ministry of Health, et al. Zambia: Demographic Health Survey, 2007. Calverton, Maryland: ICF Macro; 2009. 

Kenya: National Infant and Young Child Feeding Stakeholders’ Meeting

August 6, 2009

The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation hosted a half-day meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the status of infant feeding in the country with more than 100 infant and young child feeding stakeholders. The meeting was coordinated by PATH and supported by IYCN. Denise Lionetti, IYCN’s project director, gave a presentation on activities IYCN is conducting in partnership with PATH’s AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance (APHIA) II Western team in Kenya.

Read about Denise Lionetti’s experience at the Stakeholders’ Meeting.


Child Survival Indicators presented by Dr. Priscilla Migiro, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and Dr. Paul Kizito, National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development.

Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN Project) presented by Denise Lionetti, IYCN.

Kenya Infant Feeding Assessment presented by Margaret Waithaka, PATH Kenya.

Mother to Mother Support Groups presented by Margaret Brawley, PATH.

Overview of Infant and Young Child Feeding in Kenya presented by Linda Komen, Nutrition Division, Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

Haiti: Community activities to encourage breastfeeding

August 6, 2009

IYCN worked with Médecins du Monde-Suisse (MDM) and other partners to conduct infant feeding outreach in Grand Goâve, an urban area where exclusive breastfeeding rates are low. On August 6, IYCN helped educate families about the importance of optimal infant feeding practices at a community event organized by MDM. Participants heard success stories from mothers who have benefited from exclusive breastfeeding and received materials with practical tips and information.

In extended World Breastfeeding Week activities, IYCN participated in a series of events organized by the Ministry of Health on La Gonâve Island. Activities included a large community celebration on Sunday, August 16, where IYCN helped select an ambassador of breastfeeding for the Island.

Read about IYCN Country Coordinator Rose Mireille Exumé’s experience with World Breastfeeding Week activities in Haiti.

Lesotho: Special gardens to improve complementary feeding

One of the special demonstration gardens to be launched during a nationally televised event hosted by Lesotho's Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso.

August 7, 2009

IYCN worked with the Ministry of Health and other partners to launch special demonstration gardens at the St. David Health Centre in the Bearea District during a nationally televised event hosted by Lesotho’s Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso. She encouraged families in the area and across the country to build similar gardens at their homes to help improve complementary feeding and prevent malnutrition for their children. The gardens—called keyhole gardens because of their shape—are designed to grow different types of crops all year-round in all weather conditions. 

Nigeria: Interministerial Press Briefing on Breastfeeding

July 31, 2009

The Ministry of Health in Nigeria launched World Breastfeeding and Child Health Week on Friday, July 31. IYCN’s Project Director, Denise Lionetti, who was in Abuja launching new IYCN Project activities, was on hand for an Interministerial Press Briefing on Breastfeeding to mark the occasion. Minister of Health, Babatunde Osotimehin, told the audience that while only 13% of Nigerian women currently breastfeed, “We want 100% of women to breastfeed to give their child a chance for survival.” He said that the urgency of survival is what gives this a sense of emergency.

Also attending the event was the Executive Director of UNICEF, Ann M. Veneman. In her speech, she praised Nigeria for launching their first Child Health Week and called for efforts to increase breastfeeding through Baby Friendly Hospitals and behavior change activities.

View UNICEF’s press release.

View Charities Aid Foundation’s news story about the event.