The World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) is a unique tool created by the International Baby Food Action network, which tracks 10 indicators of policy and programmes that support women to be successful in breastfeeding across 97 countries. It helps a country to assess and report gaps, as well as launch a ‘Call to Action’ for governments to bridge these gaps, and encourages re-assessment every 3 to 5 years.

The ‘Australia: Report Card 2018’ gives the country a score of 25.5/100.

TTPI Fellow Dr Julie Smith, Naomi Hull (WBTi Australia), and Jen Hocking (WSU) received the ‘Advocacy and Leadership’ abstract presentation award at the Australian Public Health Conference 2018, in Cairns.

Gender budgeting and policy approaches

The gender budgeting framework for breastfeeding used in the assessment was developed, trialled and delivered through a research workshop and report, seed-funded by the ANU Asia-Pacific Innovation Program.

Report: Gender responsive budgeting and breastfeeding policies: insights from the Asia-Pacific region

The WBTi Australia assessment report is the first in the world to embed an explicit gender analysis. The International Baby Food Action network is moving to incorporate the gender budgeting approach pioneered by the Australia team to assist policy and program costing, and advocacy for adequate funding.

Advocacy and leadership

In Australia, the WBTi report and related processes and follow up has influenced awareness, advocacy and action through the triple A approach:

  • Firstly, team activities have raised Awareness of the problem, among health workers, policy decisionmakers and the public;
  • Secondly, it has stimulated Advocacy;
  • Thirdly, it has generated capacity and Action, initiating constructive engagement with health policy makers, services and professional organisations on conflicts of interest in their sponsorship.

To find out more about WBTi Australia, you can follow their blog, Twitter or Facebook.

(Source: PHAA Conference | WBTi Australia team | ANU Gender Institute)

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