UNICEF joins Cuba’s Ministry of Public Health in celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2023

This year, the theme is “Making breastfeeding easier: making a difference for working mothers and fathers”.

25 July 2023
UNICEF Cuba acompaña a la Comisión nacional de lactancia materna con diferentes acciones
UNICEF Cuba
UNICEF Cuba acompaña a la Comisión nacional de lactancia materna con diferentes acciones

Havana, July 24, 2023.- The Cuba Office of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from August 1 to 7, with the theme this year: “Facilitating breastfeeding: making a difference for working mothers and fathers”.

On this occasion, World Breastfeeding Week aims to inform about the perspectives on breastfeeding and parenting of working mothers and fathers inside and outside the home, including caregivers.

In addition, it is also expected to consolidate paid leave, adequate leave and support in the workplace as key tools to facilitate the practice of breastfeeding.

It will be key to engage leaders, influential personalities and diverse organizations to improve collaboration and support for breastfeeding in the workplace, as well as to promote actions to improve working conditions and the necessary support for breastfeeding.

At the press conference to introduce the Week, Dagoberto Rivera, Program Coordinator of UNICEF Cuba, emphasized the benefits of breastfeeding, not only for families, but also for the health system, in economic terms.

“How much investment goes into recovering from some chronic diseases that are preventable if breastfeeding is practiced fundamentally in the first six months?” he asked. Families are more productive at work when they don’t have to worry about their children's health, he acknowledged.

Later, Rivera called for increasing the rates of exclusive breastfeeding in Cuba. Data from the MICS 2019 survey showed that only 40.9% of mothers exclusively breastfed in the first six months of life. On this issue, Cuba is below the averages, both regionally and globally.

“This Week poses a challenge to the countries: to reach 2030 with no less than 50% coverage. That is the great challenge and that is why influential personalities and the media are also involved, so as to reach more people and achieve the change that is needed,” concluded Rivera.

In her lecture, Dr. Odalys Rodríguez Martínez, Program Officer of UNICEF Cuba’s “Every Child Survives and Thrives” Program, emphasized that it is essential to start breastfeeding within one hour of birth, as well as to maintain exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then continue breastfeeding until two years of age and beyond, complemented with nutritionally adequate and safe foods.

“With an intervention as timely, healthy and immensely beneficial to our children as exclusive breastfeeding and then supplemented breastfeeding, we are also contributing to achieving the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals,” she stated.

Dr. Rodriguez recognized the great value of understanding breastfeeding as a child’s right and that no woman should be prevented from exercising this right for any reason. She also stated that women have the right to receive information, guidance and specialized medical care at all stages of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, including breastfeeding.

In her presentation, she explained that UNICEF Cuba accompanies the National Breastfeeding Commission with various actions aimed at:

  • Strengthening technical and institutional capacities for the promotion, encouragement and protection of breastfeeding;
  • Supporting Human Milk Bank services;
  • Supporting the strengthening of the quality of childcare consultation and the Baby- and Mother-Friendly Hospital initiative;
  • Implementing the Dietary Guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and infants under two years of age;
  • Supporting studies on the nutritional status of pregnant women, children and adolescents. 

The plan of activities for World Breastfeeding Week 2023 in Cuba includes different actions. In each province, visits will be made to the Human Milk Banks, where women who donate breast milk and mothers who have achieved exclusive breastfeeding for six months and supplemented it for up to two years and more will receive incentives. The Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Unit (Prosalud) will also hold a meeting on breastfeeding in the workplace, with educators and health personnel, in which several families will participate.

In addition, there will be interventions in communities and families to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, with the collaboration of support groups in community doctor’s offices and human milk banks.

UNICEF will support the National Workshop on Breastfeeding and Human Milk Banks, which will bring together professionals from all over the country in Havana on September 6 and 7.

About World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week is coordinated each year by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), which works in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

UNICEF supports MINSAP’s efforts to maintain the achievements made in the area of maternal, child and adolescent health, and the creation and implementation of the Human Milk Bank (HMB) service, specialized in the collection, processing and quality control of human milk for its subsequent distribution by medical prescription to the most vulnerable newborns, so that they receive food appropriate to their needs. It also contributes to the revitalization of the Baby- and Mother-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

Media contacts

Tamara Roselló Reina
Oficial de Comunicaciones
UNICEF Cuba
Tel: +5372086307
Tel: +5372089791

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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