ILCA has just achieved another important milestone in signing its 15th National—Regional Partner agreement with Shanghai YUREN Breastfeeding Promotion Center (SYBPC) based in Shanghai, China. Click here to learn more about the ILCA Partner Initiative and the 14 other Partners.
ILCA is thrilled with the prospect of what lies ahead for this collaboration and the shared impact we may have on breastfeeding in China. We asked SYBPC founder, Yuwen Ren MD, to share some of her insights into the organization and why this agreement is so meaningful.
Lactation Matters (LM): Tell us about why Shanghai YUREN Breastfeeding Promotion Center (SYBPC) is so important to human health in China.
Yuwen Ren (YR): SYBPC is the first NGO in China to provide 90 hours of breastfeeding-specific education courses for healthcare providers (HCPs) to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants® (IBCLC®)s. Past students have come from 19 different provinces and cities in China.
In China, on average, there are more than 15,000 newborn babies delivered every year in a 3A hospital, and around 10,000 babies per year in a 2A hospital. In 2015, 26 participating students passed their exams and became IBCLCs. They are all HCPs who are working in either a 3A or a 2A hospital. They had, and will continue to have, great impact on promoting breastfeeding in China, including in the big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc.
We also trained some of our students to become trainers and helped them to design educational courses in their own hospital or local area. We are now recognized by hospitals across the country and have received numerous invitations for our courses. We’re very confident that our students will cover all 30 provinces and cities in the next three years.
Starting in Summer 2015, we launched a project to establish breastfeeding-friendly communities, which is supported by the local government. In one such community, we have trained 30 local government employees to provide outreach to 500 families. We already have three cities participating in the project.
LM: What challenges do you face in your work?
YR: SYBPC is a very young organization. Our staff and volunteers work very hard to achieve our goals. We have a regular training program for them as well. Because we have so many ongoing and planned projects all over China, we need more people to join us.
LM: Why did your organization decide to become an ILCA National—Regional Partner?
YR: ILCA is a well known international organization with 30 years of history, with which we share similar ideology and thoughts regarding breastfeeding promotion. We hope our decision can help both of us to provide more up-to-date information to Chinese people. We believe this two-way bridge will be a win—win collaboration for both ILCA and SYBPC.
We believe, together with ILCA, we can write a whole new chapter in breastfeeding promotion in China, and at a global level as well. We also feel excited that we can share our experiences with other partners. We foresee that we can learn a lot from each other.
LM: What is your vision for breastfeeding support in China?
YR: Breastfeeding promotion is very challenging, not only in China, but also worldwide. Our mission is to educate more health providers who can help mothers and babies have a good start in breastfeeding in hospitals. Meanwhile, we provide community education and support to expectant mothers and postpartum mothers discharged from the hospitals. Our vision is to create a natural, healthy, and robust environment and culture for breastfeeding in China.
Yuwen Ren is the founder and director of the Shanghai YUREN Breastfeeding Promotion Center. She received her MD at the Beijing Medical University, China, and served as an anesthetist at the Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital. She also received her Master of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. She became a La Leche League leader in 2007 and became an IBCLC in 2011. She is the first Chinese IBCLC in mainland China.