World Breastfeeding Conference 2012

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India hosts the world - and leads by example

Baby Milk Action's Mike Brady and Patti Rundall were guest speakers at the World Breastfeeding Conference in New Delhi, (6 - 9 Dec. 2012)

The event was organised by IBFAN’s Breastfeeding Protection Network of India (BPNI) in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Women & Child Development and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Its slogan was "Babies need mom-made not man-made" and called on people to "Join the Fight" against promotion of formula over breastmilk.

The Conference was chaired by Dr Arun Gupta of BPNI and Coordinator of IBFAN Asia, and officially opened by Anwar Fazal, former President of Consumers International and founder of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, IBFAN stalwart Helen Armstrong, IBFAN Coordinating Council Chair, Joyce Chanetsa, UNICEF representative Nicholas Alipui and representatives of the Indian Government and US Embassy.


Dr Gupta lights the Conference flame with Smt Krishna Tirath, (Minister for Women and Child Development), Mr Louis-Georges Arsenault (UNICEF Country Chief for India), Arwan Fazal, Helen Armstrong and Mr Salman Khurshid (Minister of External Affairs). Smt Krishna Tirath told Conference the Government was shortly introducing a trial system of payments for new mothers to enable even those in the informal sector to have time off work (click for large version - copyrighted).

Among the many memorable moments: The Directorate of Health Services, Haryana, India explaining how they seized Nestlé products that broke labelling laws - and were themselves labelled as "activists" by the company. Elisabet Helsing, who helped create Norway's supportive breastfeeding culture through her writing and founding of the mother-to-mother support group Ammehjelpen in 1968. Elisabet reminded the conference that the battle was not over and that even in breastfeeding cultures mothers need support, policy makers need educating and formula companies need to be kept at bay. Learning from Dr Homayoun Ludin’s presentation that Afghanistan has something to teach the world on protecting mothers and babies, as it removed idealising baby food billboards (below) across the country after introducing marketing regulations and put up others promoting breastfeeding. 

Above: Nestlé Cerelac billboard before being removed in Afghanistan.

Below: Session on Holding Companies to Account, Baby Milk Action and Philippines campaigners. 

Mike Brady with campaigners from the Philippines, Velvet Escarlo-Roxas, Alessandro Iellamo, and Ines Fernandez.


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