Australian Embassy
Republic of Croatia

Australia- Croatia relationship

Breastfeeding expert in Croatia – meet Australian-Croatian, Dr Irena Zakarija-Grkovic


After moving from Australia (Melbourne) to Croatia (Split) in 2004, Irena took up a full time post at the University of Split School of Medicine, where she teaches family medicine, clinical skills, evidence based medicine and breastfeeding medicine, and runs Cochrane Croatia. She is founding and active member of the National Breastfeeding Committee in Croatia; regional consultant for the Baby- Friendly Hospital Initiative in Croatia; president of the Croatian Association of Lactation Consultants, volunteer antenatal breastfeeding course provider and a practicing breastfeeding specialist. Irena is happily married and a mother of three.

               “Every year World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is officially celebrated from 1-7 August. In many countries of the northern hemisphere WBW is also commemorated during the first week of October, since August is a time when many people are away on holidays.

This year's WBW theme is 'Breastfeeding and Work - Let's Make it Work! Objectives of this year's WBW are to:

1. galvanise support to enable all women everywhere to work and breastfeed
2. promote actions by employers to become Family/Parent/Baby and Mother-Friendly
3. inform people about global Maternity Protection entitlements, and raise awareness of the need to strengthen national legislation and implementation
4. strengthen, facilitate and showcase supportive practices that enable women working in the informal sector to breastfeed
5. engage with target groups, e.g., trade unions, to protect the breastfeeding rights of women in the workplace

WBW is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, based in Penang, Malaysia.

 Closer to home, there are several organisations in Croatia who endeavour to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. They include the Croatian Association of Lactation Consultants (CALC) ( ), the Croatian Association of Breastfeeding Support Groups ( ), udruga Roditelji u Akciji ( ), Klub trudnica i roditelja Split ( ), UNICEF Croatia and others.

The Croatian Association of Lactation Consultants will be holding it's 3rd Breastfeeding Symposium on Thursday 1st October, at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital, Zagreb. This year's invited speaker will be Gill Rapley, from the UK, the author of the popular book ' Baby-led weaning'. All presentations will be simultaneously translated. More information will be available from the CALC website.

Join us in celebrating all that breastfeeding has to offer and enabling all women to breastfeed.

Irena Zakarija-Grkovic, MD, FRACGP, IBCLC, PhD
President, Croatian Association of Lactation Consultants”

World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)

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