Virtual learning café supports West African countries to promote exclusive breastfeeding in the time of COVID-19

More than 100 stakeholders from across West Africa participated in the first “Stronger With Breastmilk Only” virtual learning and sharing café organized by WHO, UNICEF and Alive & Thrive on Aug. 19.

“The learning café allowed stakeholders to hear about  the strategies and objectives of the initiative and learn about the concrete ways countries are implementing and adapting the initiative in the context of COVID 19,” said Manisha Tharaney, Director of Alive & Thrive’s West Africa regional office.

WATCH the learning café presentations here

PRESENTATIONS are available here.

Featuring presentations by experts working both in the region and in Burkina Faso and Ghana, the café presented the rationale for the initiative and updates on progress to date.

Anne-Sophie Le Dain, Nutrition Specialist at the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office, provided an overview of the initiative.

“The number one obstacle to exclusive breastfeeding is the tendency to give water to babies,” she noted.

The initiative implements strategic advocacy and social and behavior change activities to address the issue, she said, and places families at the center of its efforts while also engaging communities, health systems, private sector, the public and policymakers to act to support, financially and otherwise, and promote breastfeeding.

Antoinette Valian Tougouma, Nutrition Focal Point for the World Health Organization, Estelle Bambara, Director of the Department of Nutrition at the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso and Esi Amoaful, Deputy Director, Nutrition Department, Ghana Health Services, also presented their experiences. Nathalie Likhite of Alive & Thrive moderated the discussion.