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Malaysia. (Monitoring Country Activities).

* One hundred and fifty people from 26 countries met in Kuala Lumpur from 21 to 25 April as two NGOs, the Malaysia Breastfeeding Association (PPPIM) and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), collaborated to hold the Asia-Pacific Conference on the Global Initiative for Mother Support (GIMS) and Strengthening Maternity Protection. The goals of the conference were to highlight good practices that already exist, explore new support measures, share experiences across different cultural contexts and launch a GIMS network in the region, that would support mothers during pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and child care. Mothers face new challenges to breastfeeding and nurturing as societies change. GIMS calls for employment, health care, and marketplace policies to change too, with the goal of providing better breastfeeding support throughout the reproductive cycle. Particular attention was given to birthing practices, bringing to light the risk of disruption to breastfeeding that comes with many technological birth interventions, while prioritising access to basic maternity care and extending Safe Motherhood to all women. For the final two days, the organisers placed special emphasis on women at work and turned their attention to maternity protection. Representatives from trade unions, government, and women's reproductive health and rights groups met with breastfeeding advocates to discuss national laws, the chances for ratifying the International Labour Organisation's new (2002) Maternity Protection Convention 183 and Recommendation 191, how to set up a worksite creche, and ways to change the workplace from an obstacle to a supportive environment for breastfeeding. The meeting was held with support from and in collaboration with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the Malaysian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Women and Family Development, World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC). From the GIMS meeting came a list of recommendations for different sectors--mother-to-mother support groups, employers, health care workers and community--as well as a list of people who will act as national focal points for GIMS activities. The Maternity Protection Seminar developed a regional plan for assessing and strengthening maternity protection at the national level.

Source: World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), P.O. Box 1200, 10850 Penang, Malaysia; Tel: (604) 6584816; Fax: (604)6572655; E-mail: <>.
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Title Annotation:breast feeding and infant health
Publication:Arrows For Change
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:May 1, 2002
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