The Department of Health, in collaboration with the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Hong Kong Association (BFHIHKA), the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) and the Hospital Authority, held an event on 30 July 2016 to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2016 and promote public awareness of supporting breastfeeding.
WBW is celebrated annually in the first week of August in more than 170 countries. The theme for this year is “Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development”. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively in the first six months. Thereafter, solid foods should be introduced while breastfeeding can continue until the child is 2 years old or above.
Addressing the event, the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, said breastfeeding not only provides the best nutrition for babies, but also strengthens the immunity of babies, promotes emotional bonding between mothers and children, and benefits babies’ growth and development. It also supports the sustainable development of society as it is both convenient and environmentally friendly.
The Government has all along been committed to promoting and supporting breastfeeding and the breastfeeding rate in Hong Kong over the past 20 years has been on the rise. The breastfeeding rate on hospital discharge increased from 19 per cent in 1992 to 89 per cent in 2015, while the exclusive breastfeeding rate among 4-month-old babies reached 27 per cent for those born in 2014.
During the event, the Vice-chairperson of the BFHIHKA, Dr Leung Wing-cheong, said, “To facilitate exclusive breastfeeding, healthcare workers should provide more support to mothers while they are in hospital. The implementation of the WHO’s ‘Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’ in hospital is the cornerstone to promoting exclusive breastfeeding.” Please click to read the report of annual survey or press release.