Upcoming Regional Webinars

See the webinars in each of the WHO World Regions below.



Dr. Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Professor of Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health

Lactancia materna y COVID-19 en América Latina: Lecciones aprendidas y como avanzar (Hosted in Spanish)
Basado en la evidencia acumulada hasta ahora, la Organización Mundial de la Salud sigue indicando que mujeres con COVID-19 pueden amamantar de forma segura a sus bebés y que es muy deseable que lo hagan. Sin embargo, un estudio de monitoreo en México que es nacionalmente representativo muestra que la mayoría de las personas en hogares con niños pequeños piensan que las mujeres con COVID-19 no deben amamantar ya que pueden transmitir el virus SARS-CoV-2 a sus hijos. Esta presentación va a discutir las implicaciones de esto hallazgos para mejorar la diseminación basada en evidencia, utilizando principios de teoría y análisis de redes sociales, sobre la lactancia materna en tiempos de COVID-19 en el contexto de América Latina. También va a presentar hallazgos sobre como programas de consejería de lactancia materna fueron adaptados de forma remota durante la pandemia utilizando métodos de la ciencia de implementación.

Click here for the webinar flyer.
1:00pm EST on February 3, 2021


Dr. Steven Townsend,
Vanderbilt University

Human Milk Oligosaccharides as Therapeutics
Carbohydrates are the most abundant organic molecules on earth and are critical to a myriad of biological processes. The Vanderbilt Laboratory for Glycoscience uses a blend of synthetic organic chemistry and microbiology to elucidate the biological roles of carbohydrates, with a foci on advances in chemical synthesis and learning new mechanistic concepts. Our discussion will focus on the application of the host defense properties of human milk.

Click here for the webinar flyer.
18:00 CET on February 2, 2021

Dr. Merete Eggesbø
, environmental epidemiologist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Environmental contaminants in human milk
Since the mid 1900th century a booming chemical industry has exposed the human population to an ever increasing load of synthetic chemicals. Of particular concern are the persistent environmental toxicants that accumulate in our bodies, and are transferred to our children during fetal life and breastfeeding. Although the levels of many toxicants have declined during the last 40 years due to the Stockholm convention, we still observe adverse effects of these old “legacy” chemicals, related to reproduction, obesity, neurodevelopment and to the immune system. In parallel, new chemicals are steadily entering the scene. One such group of particular worrisome new chemicals are the perfluorinated chemicals which can be found in water repellent material. A recent Faroese study reported that children with the highest exposure to these chemicals had increased risk of vaccine responses below a clinically protective level. Vaccinations programs prevents an estimated 2.5 million deaths worldwide annually, but a weakened immune system has implication beyond vaccine responses, increasing our susceptibility to infections and carcinogens.

18:00 CET on April 6, 2021

Eastern Mediterranean

South East Asia

Dr Rukhsana Haider, Founder and Chairperson of the Training & Assistance for Health & Nutrition Foundation (TAHN) in Bangladesh, and Co-Chair, Steering Committee of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

Supporting mothers to breastfeed exclusively in Bangladesh
Specific programs to inform and support employed women for breastfeeding are lacking in Bangladesh. Ready-made garment factory workers in particular, are reported to have poor infant feeding practices and undernourished children. In order to improve the infant feeding practices of factory workers and their unemployed neighbours, a peer counselling project was implemented from 2015-17 in Chattogram. Peer counsellors visited mothers regularly at home from pregnancy until children were 18 months old. A cross-sectional survey undertaken when the project ended, showed that breastfeeding practices of the counselled factory workers were significantly better than those of the non-counselled factory workers. Unemployed counselled mothers also had optimal breastfeeding practices. These results will be further shared during the webinar. Despite the challenges being faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, peer counsellors continue to provide home-based services to both unemployed and employed women in TAHN Foundations' programme areas.

12:00 AWST on February 23, 2021

Western Pacific

Professor Valerie Verhasselt
Chair in Human Lactology, School of Molecular Sciences at the University of Western Australia (UWA)

Antigen shedding in human milk: key for long term immune health?
In addition of being a source of nutrients for the developing newborn, human milk contains thousands of bioactive compounds, which influence infant health in the short-term as exemplified by its major benefits on infectious disease prevention. Many of the human milk compounds also have the required characteristics to instruct immune development and guide long-term health. Prebiotics, probiotics, varied antimicrobial molecules, all have the potential to shape the composition and function of the establishing gut microbiota, which is known to be a major determinant of proper immune function. Another and less explored way human milk can instruct long-term immunity, is through antigen shedding. Here, we will review the evidence that antigens from maternal environment and more specifically from allergen sources and pathogens, are found in human milk. We will gather the data that provide clues on how antigens in human milk may be especially suitable to elicit an immune response in early life and educate the infant immunity towards tolerance or defense as needed. We propose this understanding is fundamental to guide maternal interventions leading to child-tailored vaccination, harmonious microbiota commensalism and lifelong allergen tolerance.

Click here for the webinar flyer.
11:00 AWST on January 27, 2021