Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) has demonstrated its commitment to breastfeeding by promoting WHO-recommended breastfeeding practices, adopting the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, rolling out a training package for Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Counseling, expanding the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), and increasing the duration of maternity leave for civil servants. In early 2017, the Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly (BBF) Initiative was introduced to MOHS and other nutrition stakeholders in Myanmar by the team from Yale School of Public Health. Myanmar nutrition stakeholders endorsed Save the Children, host organization of the Secretariat of the Scaling Up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN CSA), to implement the BBF in Myanmar with the leadership of the National Nutrition Center (NNC) of MOHS. In July 2017, the Union Minister of MOHS approved to implement BBF in Myanmar. A team of Myanmar representatives led by Dr. May Khin Than (Director – Nutrition) attended the BBF Technical Advisory Group Meeting at Yale University in New Haven, United States in 27th and 28th July 2017. The implementation of BBF in Myanmar was formally launched on 16th January 2018 during the stakeholder consultation meeting.
The Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly process identified gaps in the national breastfeeding programming. Key recommended actions were presented in August 2018 to decision makers to address the gaps.
- Form a National Infant and Young Child Feeding Alliance
- Mobilize a cohesive national network of advocates to develop and implement a
- national advocacy strategy
- Increase availability and utilization of breastfeeding data by developing routine monitoring systems and conducting periodic household surveys at sub-national and national level
- Strengthen breastfeeding promotion by revising the communication strategy,
- developing breastfeeding promotion standards, and leveraging mass media
- Update and strengthen lactation counseling during pre- and in-service training for health service providers and volunteers at facility and community levels, with a focus on interpersonal communication
- Increase human resources allocated to support breastfeeding and provide certified lactation support
- Strengthen implementation and coverage of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative by mandating the inclusion of key elements of the Ten Steps into hospital accreditation
Adopt full provisions of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and strengthen monitoring and enforcement of the Order of Marketing of Formulated Food for Infant and Young Child
- Revise legislation for maternity leave and protection to include at least six months of paid leave in all sectors, clarify the terms of maternity leave, and protect pregnant and lactating women from workplace discrimination