By Marc Lopatin
Co-Founder, Dialogue First

Prevention Means More Than Self-Navigation

Today is World Mental Health Day. Let’s celebrate the huge progress that’s been made in championing an equilibrium between our physical and mental wellbeing. While there’s still far to travel, there weren’t always such powerful voices challenging stigma at all levels of society.

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Family Initiative Research into Action Paper - Breastfeeding as Family Teamwork

Support from family is critical for the success of breastfeeding: if fathers and family members are supportive of breastfeeding, the mother is more likely to initiate breastfeeding and to breastfeed for longer. Family influence is particularly salient where decision making is more of a cooperative effort, such as in many developing countries.

Download the briefing paper here

Maternal Health Taskforce Blog - Family Inclusive Maternal Health Care: What it Is and Why it Matters

By: Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Not surprisingly, public health professionals, researchers and clinicians in the maternal and child health field have traditionally focused primarily on the mother and the child. Interventions aimed at encouraging antenatal care attendance, facility-based delivery and exclusive breastfeeding have generally targeted the pregnant woman or mother, often without much attention to her partner, surrounding family or social network.

Duncan Fisher, Co-Founder and Director of the Family Initiative, traveled from the United Kingdom to give a lecture at the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health about the importance of expanding the focus of maternal health. While there has been some effort to engage men in maternal health, few studies examining this issue have been conducted and even fewer interventions have been designed, implemented or evaluated.

Full article:

Sep 13th 2016 - Women and Health Initiative Seminar @  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

"Engaging Men in Maternal Health: Why it’s important, how to do it and why it’s so difficult”

Our International Programmes manager, Duncan Fisher OBE, is presenting at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, September 13th, 2016, 12:30-1:20PM.

More information can be found here:

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Sep 14th 2016 - The Case for Male Engagement in Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health

Lunch & panel discussion. September 14th, 12:30-14:00.

Organisations: The Family Initiative, USAID, Maternal and Child Survival Programme, Jhpiego, IGWG and Promundo.

1776 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036. Participants can also join remotely.

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Fatherhood and gender equality: the forgotten connection

At the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen this May, attended by 5,500 people, there were constant references to fatherhood. In the opening plenary session alone there were five mentions of it.

Fatherhood was present – invisibly – in another way, illustrated by this tweet during my own presentation: "Great talk from @DuncanFisher on ‘collaborative breeding’. Happy my husband is looking after our 3 kids so I can attend #wd2016. [@AliceKerrWilson]"

Just as men have been able to run the world while women look after their children, so some women are now leading the way towards equality while men care for their children.

But the fatherhood theme was not developed nor discussed at the conference in any significant way. There was a session on “caring men” attended by 65 (enthusiastic!) people, but it hardly compared to the session on “powerful men” that attracted between 2000 and 3000 people, as far as I could count!

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