10 October 2006

If I had a million dollars...

of public money to spend, you can rest assured it would not have been wasted on an over-hyped tourism wordmark.


Especially when it is being touted as a "brand" and business minister Kevin O'Brien - the guy responsible for selling the thing - can't tell the difference between a brand and a logo. Open Line host Randy Simms raised that point with O'Brien, who proclaimed his own extensive business background, and while O'Brien said he knew the difference, his comments demonstrated he didn't have a clue.

If I had a million bucks of public money, I'd spend it to promote breastfeeding in Newfoundland and Labrador. There is a public shame that groups interested in promoting child health have had to go public on their own to raise this important health issue.

As the CBC news story linked above states:
Doctors agree that breastfeeding is the best way to protect newborns from early childhood disease, because mother's milk contains antibodies that help babies fight infections.
About 63% of new mothers in Newfoundland and Labrador begin breastfeeding, compared to 85% nationally. The real test is how many are still breastfeeding when their babies are six months old.

According to the Breastfeeding Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador:
In Newfoundland and Labrador, there has been an increase in the initiation of breastfeeding over the past 20 years. In 1983, 31.9% of women initiated breastfeeding (11) with 62.7% of women initiating breastfeeding in 2003. (12) However, 62.7% is the lowest initiation rate among the provinces and territories in Canada. Furthermore, the duration rate at 6 months is 27.5 % at 6 months, with 11.1% exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. These statistics tell us that we are living in a culture where breastfeeding is not the norm.
Fewer than half the women who start breastfeeding are still nourishing their children that way six months later and only 11% are breastfeeding exclusively.

A simple campaign to promote breastfeeding would hardly cost $1.0 million. But even if it wound up costing the government twice that amount, the long-term health benefits to the people of the province would vastly outweigh the expenditure. (Left - poster from a breastfeeding campaign featuring television celebrity Lucy Lawless)