On February 24, 2017 health officials, non-governmental agencies and community leaders form El Paso, Juarez and Las Cruces gathered at the Texas Department of State Health Services building for a press conference to launch the Breastfeeding Welcome Initiative developed by the Alliance of Border Collaboratives.
Invited speakers provided breastfeeding statistics and their experience with successful programs that contribute to create a breastfeeding culture here in the Paso del Norte region. Dr. Mary Anderson TDSHS provided the opening remarks with the message it takes a village to support a mother to breastfeed and we all are part of that village.
Astid Lara from the El Paso Department of Public Health WIC program provided insight on the program benefits and outcomes. Carlos Martinez Flores Share his breastfeeding experience as a husband supporting his wife, a father and a long standing leader in the education sector in Ciudad Juarez.
Elsa Cornejo summarized breastfeeding activities taking place in New Mexico as it related to Mother Friendly Hospitals and lactation experts that are available 24/7. New Mexico has shared their experience internationally they were invited to a conference in Guadalajara. Lissa Kundsen share with participants New Mexico experience with breastfeeding laws.
Libby Berkeley form the Binational Breastfeeding Coalition mentioned that BBC is a nonprofit organization with a mission statement that commits to border collaboration that conducts diverse activities to create breastfeeding support networks to help mothers to breastfeed. In order to accomplish this BBC partners with the Big Latch On, local Baby Cafés, La Leche League and Hospital de la Mujer in Juarez. The main areas of work include: awareness, health promotion, community engagement, education and research.
Rosalba Ruiz presented the Breastfeeding Welcome Initiative that created a breastfeeding welcome media campaign for mothers and their families to improve support for breastfeeding in public. This project will help to provide more comfortable, shame-free areas in El Paso businesses such as shopping venues, libraries, and restaurants for nursing mothers to have the freedom to be away from home longer and patronize businesses in their communities.
The press conference had an audience of more than 40 individuals from El Paso, Juarez and Las Cruces representing different sector: health, media, education, religious and business. The event was covered by print, radio and television media outlets.
The room was filled with enthusiasm with participants ready to collaborative to improve the future health of the border community. To view the media campaign materials and videos, please visit www.abc-ep.org.