World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated annually in the first week of August in more than 170 countries, aiming to bring worldwide awareness of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. The theme for this year is "Sustaining Breastfeeding Together", with the goal to promote sustaining breastfeeding by promulgating multi-sectorial collaboration and partnership for support to breastfeeding families.
This year, 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 28 July 2017 to raise the public awareness of sustaining breastfeeding.
Officiating at the event, the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, said that the breastfeeding rate on hospital discharge in Hong Kong recorded a significant increase from 19 per cent in 1992 to 87 per cent in 2016 while the exclusive breastfeeding rate among 4-month-old babies grew from 19 per cent in 2012 to 31 per cent in 2016.
"This encouraging trend could be attributed to the concerted efforts of relevant stakeholders and parties, working in collaboration to implement the multi-pronged strategies as recommended by the Government's Committee on Promotion of Breastfeeding to strengthen the support in healthcare facilities, encourage the adoption of breastfeeding-friendly workplace policies and promote breastfeeding-friendly premises," she noted.
Dr Leung Wing-cheong, the Vice-chairperson of the BFHIHKA, said, "We conduct an annual survey on the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO)'s 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding among hospitals with maternity units in Hong Kong and we are pleased to see more paediatric doctors receiving training on breastfeeding, more mothers and babies rooming-in from birth after normal deliveries, and more private hospitals making an effort in the area."