Breastfeeding is the foundation of lifelong good health and well-being for infants and mothers, and is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organization recommends 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding, as it provides adequate nutrition for optimal growth and development. 81% of Samoan infants are breastfed within the first hour of birth but only 70% are exclusively breastfed for six months.
In consultation with the Samoa Ministry of Health, an 8-member BBF committee with membership from the National Health Services, Ministry of Education Sports and Culture, Public Service Commission, Samoa Red Cross, Samoa Family Health Association, National University of Samoa, Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour, Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development was established to implement the process. Using a rigorous scoring process, the BBF committee scored the national BBF performance and reached consensus on the 8 gears using best available evidence.
The Becoming Breastfeeding Friendly process identified gaps in the national breastfeeding programming. Key recommended actions were presented to the key decision makers to address the gaps.
- Develop and Implement a National Breastfeeding Policy and Strategic Action Plan
- Strengthen capacity to monitor and evaluate all breastfeeding activities
- Ratify International Labour Organization Maternity Protection Convention 2000
- Have champions on Breastfeeding to become role models to advocate for breastfeeding
- Create a national budget line for breastfeeding activities
- Seek and hire a national counsellor and trainer position for breastfeeding
For further details, see the Samoa Policy Brief.