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La Leche League International
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109th World Health Organization Executive Board Session
Geneva, 14-21 January 2002


Statement by La Leche League International, a nongovernmental Organization in official relations with WHO

Thank you, Madam Chair, for providing this opportunity for La Leche League International (LLLI) to comment briefly on the draft Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.

As a community-based nongovernmental organization that has been active for 45 years in breastfeeding promotion, protection and support, we welcome the WHO Global Strategy. We expect that the Strategy will provide impetus and direction to efforts to support breastfeeding, building on the work already accomplished as a result of the Innocenti Declaration, the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative and the World Declaration on Nutrition.

LLLI will work through its network of seven thousand volunteer Leaders and over two thousand trained Peer Counsellors to participate in implementing the Global Strategy, including by:

  • Helping mothers initiate early breastfeeding, breastfeed exclusively for six months, offer appropriate complementary foods and continue breastfeeding for two years or longer.
  • Developing and publishing literature in several languages for lay and health professional audiences on breastfeeding and lactation.
  • Organizing conferences, workshops, seminars and other events at which breastfeeding, lactation issues, and infant nutrition are addressed.
  • Educating its network on the vital role of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and how to support the Code's implementation.
  • Working with the Mother Support Task Force of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in the promotion of the Global Initiative on Mother Support (GIMS for Breastfeeding), whose aim is to create an appropriate environment of awareness and support for mothers to initiate and sustain breastfeeding.
  • Disseminating information on the Global Strategy to LLL Leaders and members.

LLLI calls upon WHO to monitor the breastfeeding and HIV/AIDS situation and to ensure that action taken by organizations, governments and international agencies does not result in an unnecessary decrease in breastfeeding.

Through its official relations with WHO, LLLI will follow the progress of the Global Strategy and is prepared to provide assistance to strengthen and accelerate that progress.

We ask the following question: Since breastfeeding is recognized as essential to food security, sustainable development, and maternal and child health, why are barriers to breastfeeding tolerated? We challenge the international community to use the Global Strategy to eliminate these barriers once and for all.

LLLI congratulates WHO and all those who contributed to the preparation of this important international document.

Last updated Monday, September 18, 2006 by sjs.
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