GEORGE TOWN: The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and Penang Medical College (PMC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop a research component of making Penang a breastfeeding friendly state. The MoU was signed by WABA Chairman Emeritus Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal and PMC President and CEO Stephen Doughty in a simple ceremony here. 'Making Penang Breastfeeding Friendly' is a multi-stakeholder project coordinated by WABA that will create a warm chain of support for mothers and babies along the 1,000 days' timeline (from conception to the child's second birthday) in Penang, said Doughty. Doughty said PMC brings to this project expertise in research in this area because the college has a strong commitment to promote breastfeeding in its educational programmes and has made substantial contributions to internationally recognised work such as technical advisor to WHO Breastfeeding Guidelines and Cochrane Reviews on breastfeeding. "Being the father of five children myself, with my wife having breastfed all of them, I think that I recognise that this is not a women-only agenda and that men need to understand and support women in this crucial role," he commented. He added that men need to work in partnership with women in order to create environments where breastfeeding is the cultural norm and where gender equality leads to men sharing the responsibility in caring for infants and young children. Anwar said this project has already started with several key stakeholders currently developing an action plan. He urged more stakeholders to participate as increasing the breastfeeding rates would benefit all sectors, not just healthcare and families.