DPR Korea celebrates World Breastfeeding Week
Pyongyang, August 4, 2008- World Breastfeeding Week (1 to 7 August) is celebrated for the first time in DPR Korea to promote breast-feeding particularly exclusive breastfeeding. UNICEF, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Public Health inaugurated World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) with a technical seminar conducted by a renowned pediatrician Dr.Thane Oke Kyaw-Myint. 0ver 250 participants from medical and public health fields, Ministry of Education, Women’s Union, Grand People’s Study House (GPSH), mass media, UN agencies and community breastfeeding supporters around the country joined the seminar.
“We see this celebration as the signaling of a sustaining commitment in DPRK to maintain and improve standards including the inculcation of an exclusive breastfeeding culture within families, communities and workplaces,” said UNICEF DPRK Representative Mr. Gopalan Balagopal in his opening remarks.
In DPR Korea the observance of the World Breastfeeding Week 2008 builds on the momentum generated by the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), extending from Pyongyang maternity hospital to Pyongsong and Siniju maternity hospitals. The BFHI promotes, protects and supports breastfeeding through the ten steps to successful breastfeeding for hospitals as outlined by UNICEF and WHO global guidelines. This year Ministry of Public Health has under taken a major step towards the breastfeeding promotion initiatives in the country through the development and endorsement of “National Breastfeeding Policy” and conducted a workshop on Breastfeeding counseling for 5 days in July which will be followed by implementation of a training plan.
“Global data shows that less than 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breast fed today said Dr.Arvind Mathura, Officer-In –Charge, WHO DPRK.” “This under achievement in turn contributes to the unnecessary deaths of over a million children each year- lives that could be saved if mothers and families are adequately encouraged and supported to breastfeed.”
On the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, Grand People Study House (GPSH) in collaboration with UNICEF organized an art work poster exhibition which was prepared on the topic “supporting mothers to breastfeed”, and declared the best 10 posters.
The seminar ended with educational role plays written and performed by doctors, pediatricians and nurses of Pyongyang Maternity hospital on breastfeeding week.
UNICEF is working with its partners and Governments in many countries to ensure the provision of increased support for breastfeeding mothers, including by health workers, counselors, mother-to-mother support groups, employers, relief workers in emergencies, legislators, and the family and community social networks.