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Political Will Genchmark Examples

PWG1: High level political officials have publicly expressed their commitment to breastfeeding action

Example: First Lady Michelle Obama launched a breastfeeding campaign to support nursing mothers. The campaign recognizes the health benefits of breastfeeding and identifies its association with lowering the risks of childhood obesity, which coincides with Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. Mrs. Obama said that early intervention, including breastfeeding, was key in preventing obesity. She cited needing more breastfeeding education, specifically for women in predominately black communities, according to Mrs. Obama, “40% of [black] babies never get breastfed at all.” She also has pushed for more hospitals to be certified as “Baby Friendly” and more flexible workplace rules for breastfeeding. Mrs. Obama has been very open about breastfeeding her own children and this is generally recognized to be the first person in the US with the First Lady's stature or power that has embraced breastfeeding so publicly.

Mrs. Obama has publicly expressed her commitment to breastfeeding action multiples times throughout the year.

Score: Major Progress

Domain-Existence: Yes

Domain-Volume: US First Lady is considered a high-level official and she verbally promoted breastfeeding more than two times in one year.

Domain-Quality : Mrs. Obama publicly expressed her commitment to action by including breastfeeding in her obesity initiative.

PWG2: Government initiatives have been implemented to create an enabling environment that promotes breastfeeding.

Example: In 2016, Mexico BBF committee considered the initiatives that enable a breastfeeding environment, i.e. those actions that the government implemented to eliminate barriers to breastfeeding in Mexico. Six specific barriers and initiatives were identified through the literature:

  1. Barrier: Type of birth and inadequate hospital practices (e.g. formula feeding during post-birth recovery). Impact: Progress has been made in certifying baby-friendly hospitals. As of April 2016, 107 hospitals were nominated, an advance of almost 30% over the target but the levels are still low nor has BFHI been implemented in health centers.
  2. Barrier: Lack of breastfeeding counseling. Impact: 84.6% of mothers know at least one benefit of breastfeeding and 88.6% have received pre or postnatal breastfeeding counseling. However, it is unclear if counselors are trained and whether the counseling itself is pro-breastfeeding.
  3. Barrier: Lack of efficient health care and cross cultural support, mainly for indigenous and rural communities. Impact: 87.3% indigenous mothers were visited 5 times in the prenatal period by a trained health worker. This data does not provide information on the efficiency of the care or it’s specific reference to multiculturalism.
  4. Barrier: Lack of appropriate spaces for breastfeeding when women return to work. Impact: Guidance was issued to address this but few companies have appropriate spaces for breastfeeding.
  5. Barrier: Lack of laws to protect lactation among working women. Impact: BBF Committee agrees that while on the paper there are advances, in reality these laws have not been implemented.
  6. Barrier: Lack of monitoring of the compliance of the International Code. Impact: Government has relied on self-regulation by the formula industry and does not monitor nor has an action plan to better implement the Code.

Score: Partial Progress

Domain-Existence: Yes

Domain-Effective: Several government initiatives have been implemented and they have started to create an enabling environment that promotes breastfeeding at the national level.

PWG3: An individual within the government has been especially influential in promoting, developing, or designing breastfeeding policy

Example: Senator Cayetano of the Philippines is an example of a breastfeeding champion who has used her position in the national government to protect, promote, and support women’s right to breastfeed. She was the principal author of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act and sponsored the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill, developed by the Senate Committee on Women, of whom she is Chair. She also: a) sponsored a bill to ensure there is one midwife in every health station per 5,000 people, in order to help the Philippines reach its Millennium Development Goal of improving maternal and neonatal health outcomes, b) a resolution asking the legislature to launch an inquiry into Milk Code violations and c) succeeded in getting “gender provisions’ into the ‘Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010’.

Score: Major Progress

Domain-Existence: Yes

Domain-Effective : Senator Cayetano had a strong level of impact on promoting, developing and implementing expansion of the maternity leave legislation.