The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is a global network of individuals
& organisations concerned with the protection, promotion & support of breastfeeding worldwide.
WABA action is based on the Innocenti Declaration, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the
Global Strategy for Infant & Young Child Feeding. WABA is in consultative status with UNICEF & an NGO
in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
A special tribute Professor Micheal Latham


WABA's oldest pioneer, Professor Michael Latham, who was among the first persons to serve on the WABA Steering Committee since it's inception in 1991, left us on Sunday, 3 April, 2011. He also led the WABA Research Task Force as its Coordinator for a number of years, and then co-chaired the WABA International Advisory Council (IAC) with Elisabet Helsing till now. Michael has been a champion for the breastfeeding movement in so many ways, knowledgeable, courageous, spirited, yet kind, sensitive and loving. WABA is deeply indebted to Michael for his enormous contribution to the work of the network. We will miss him and hope his contributions to the world will live on through all the people he has taught, touched and loved!

Tributes from around the world

It is with great sadness that ILCA has learned of the passing of a respected breastfeeding pioneer, champion and advocate, Professor Michael Latham. He will be missed by all in the 'breastfeeding and lactation' world. Deepest condolences to his family.

Sue Saunders

I had the good fortune of attending Cornell's International Nutrition Program when Michael Latham was heading the program. When I first arrived he and his students were writing letters to the editor of the Lancet about vitamin A deficiency. He constantly advocated for breastfeeding and infant nutrition. When I first found out about his passing, I looked up some of the many letters to editors he had written and found letters to the NY Times about the famine in Biafra in 1968. To the best of my abilities, I will try to keep his memory alive by advocating for breastfeeding support and better nutrition for infants and young children.

Susan E. Burger, MHS, PhD, IBCLC
President of the New York Lactation Consultant Association

IBFAN Africa and African colleagues who knew Michael or his work on Nutrition and infant feeding and its contribution to our work in the various countries, are greatly saddened by Michael's passing on. We are so honoured to have been associated with him and his work. Those of us who met him were privileged indeed to have seen the simplicity of such a great man. There is no senior Nutritionist in Africa who did not start with their career in Nutrition without a copy of Human Nutrition in Tropical African by Michael Latham! We can only thank God for such a great life. We hope his family can be comforted by knowing that we share their loss.

May God rest his soul in peace.

Warm regards
Joyce chanetsa
Regional Coordinator
IBFAN Africa

I am deeply saddened by the news. It was truly a privilege to have known, and worked with, Michael. I am joining all those who ask you, Ted, to pass on to his famlily our most sincere expressions of sympathy.

Uwe Kracht

Eminence is also in deep shock to hear the news. May his soul rest in peace. Our deep condolence to the family and the entire nutrition network. Michael will remain alive in our hearts and all activities related to nutrition in Bangladesh.

Dr. Md. Shamim Hayder Talukder
Chief Executive Officer

Michael Latham was one of my heroes, especially for the persistent way in which he championed the interests of young children. He had an immense influence on many devoted students who are carrying out his legacy. I feel privileged to have known him.

Aloha, George Kent

It’s an honour and special privilege to have worked with Michael throughout my time at WABA, and especially over the last few years for the breastfeeding advocacy work at UN SCN and UNICEF. I’m grateful for the time I had with him. /Thank you, Michael, for your kindness, guidance and friendship. Your wisdom and invaluable contributions to the breastfeeding and nutrition movement will be remembered and celebrated for years to come. The Michael Latham spirit will live on . . .

Susan Siew
Penang, Malaysia

Michael has made a great contribution to humanity, the world, especially Africa and specifically my country Tanzania. In fact he was half Tanzanian. He was a great human being, one of us, a great champion of nutrition and breastfeeding, like no other. I was just reading one of his recent articles, today just to remind me of some of his bold, brave recent words. The article is called " The great Vitamin A Fiasco" of may 2010 and I said to myself "that was one of his last great fights for African children. Someone needed to say what he said in that article and it had to be him! Yes, that was Michael. Yes, we shall all miss him as a person, mentor, a friend, academic and as a father of nutrition and breastfeeding. Let his contributions to the world live on through all of us. May the good Lord rest his soul in peace and console his family to get through these very difficult times. I think we need to start something in his honour-a fund/a Special Day, something like it.

Pauline Kisanga

I was in shock with this sad news ....Still remember the party that we have for is 80 anniversary in Malaysia. We will miss professor Michael Lathan.... We should honor him with our work, commitment in the field of nutrition and breastfeeding .... In Portuguese we should say ... "A luta continua" that means the "struggle will continue" for the wellbeing of mothers and children...

Best regards

Lourdes Fidalgo

During the last WABA Partners Forum, we missed the presence of Michael Latham. There were many moments when his absence was very notorious; we missed his wise words and his xtraordinary sense o humor. We were confident to meet him in the next opportunity. Now, after we learnt that we will not be able to see him again, a deep sense of loss invades me. I know that his words and much of his wonderful spirit will be always among us. Thank you, Michael for your work, your wisdom and your friendship.

Marcos Arana

(From Facebook)
I received sad news today that my professor, Michael Latham, died today. He'd been in hospital for some time for an operation which was not to be too serious, but got pneumonia. He was 82 and still quite active professionally. In fact, this was the first time in his life he'd been in a hospital as a patient. He trained huge numbers of students in international nutrition but also in empathy and in humility. He will be deeply mourned and missed.

Ted Greiner
Nutrition Professor
Hanyang University

Michael was always my hero. He was THE ONE we could count on for balance and supreme insight. We have lost a friend, an intellect, a humanitarian, and, well, a d-mn good friend. All sympathy for his family at this difficult time....

Miriam Labbok,
Professor, and Director of the Carolina (Global) Breastfeeding Institute

We will miss him so much
Just a few months back he wrote to me for comments on the RUTF article in world nutrition
We will remember him always among us in our fight on commercialization of ruf or rutf which he kicked in 2007 alerting us' That this coming like a truck coming down the hill without brakes'

May god give peace and courage to his family

Arun Gupta
BPNI, India

He was an Icon of a mentor....he will live on in all those he touched,taught and inspired... of the last things we did together was to write a foreword for Elisabet Helsing's new book 'Understanding Breastfeeding"

Prof Anwar Fazal
Chairperson Emeritus

This is very sad news. Giants like Jelliffe and Michael have inspired us all along. We shall miss them. May be we have to keep doing our bit to keep the torch ablaze.

Dr. R.K. Anand

It is with very deep regret that we received the sad news of the passing into transition of Professor Michael Latham. The entire crew of WABA Men's Working Group and Members of Cameroon Link sincerely express their deep sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Michael, his relatives and friends. The World Breastfeeding Movement has lost a Breastfeeding Promotion, Protection and Support giant advocate, activist and teacher. May the soul of Michael rest in perfect peace.

James Achanyi-Fontem
WABA Men’s Working Group
Cameroon Link

(From Facebook)

My condolences to Michael's family. We'll miss you Michael at all WABA and IBFAN events. RIP my good friend, will always remember you and your wonderful work.

Siti Norjinah Moin
WABA Local Governance Task Force

(From Facebook)

Michael Latham,Your contribution to childhealth nutrition and breastfeeding advocacy will be with us forever!

Meena Sobsamai

May we continue to let his light shine. I am grateful for the years I spent with him as my Professor, mentor and friend.
Love and prayers to Lani and the rest of the family.

Bernice, Romel and Andre
Bernice U. Dookhan-Khan, Ph.D.

I have in shock and denial all weekend. All I keep thinking and knowing deeply is that his passing represents very profoundly the passing of a era. He was larger than life in many ways and his humility was unparalled. He embodied humanity and knew how to balance the best science with the real human condition. Now that can be very rare nowadays!

May his soul rest in eternal peace...and may we all find solace and celebrate what he stood for.

Bibi Giyose

Sorrow, sorrow. But also gratitude for having had the chance to work with a truly great mind who would never compromise. Thank you, Michael.

Elisabet Helsing
WABA International Advisory Council

This is truely sad news. I have known and admired Michael for so many years. He was such a powerful force in our international breastfeeding efforts. He will be very much missed.

Audrey Naylor
Wellstart International

(From Facebook)

Hoy nos toca compartir una triste noticia: la muerte de nuestro amigo y profesor Michael Latham Michael, formador de decenas de nutricioanistas y activistas en todo el mundo, maravilloso académico humanista y comprometido en la cotidianidad con la lucha por el cambio social....

Marta Trejos
Costa Rica

(From Facebook)

What a dear man who lived life with passion and compassion. Fond memories of his wisdom, wit and humor at WABA meetings!

Beth Styer

(From Facebook)

I feel blessed to have known him and been with him in different occasions; mainly WABA events. He always provided wisdom and insight to discussions. He will be missed by people around the world and I send my condolences to his family who will miss him on a daily basis.

Rebecca Magalhaes
Editor, WABA Mother Support Task Force Newsletter

That is sad news, indeed, for the network. I regret that I was never able to meet Michael Latham. His contribution to international nutrition and to WABA will live on and his influence will continue to spread, like ripples on a pond.

Dr Virginia Thorley, OAM, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA
Brisbane, Qld, Australia

(From Facebook)

We owe our thanks to Michael for speaking Truth to Power in so many situations around the world.

Chris Mulford
WABA Women and Work Task Force

I would like to, in the name of FIAN International, express our deepest condolences for the passing of one of the most committed human beings to the struggle to guarantee adequate conditions for people to enjoy good nutrition and lead a life in dignity.

We will certainly miss him. I hope we all together can continue his struggle. This is the way he would like us to celebrate his life,

To you my friend,

Flavio Luiz Schieck Valente MD MPH
Secretary General
FIAN International Secretariat

Michael Latham's death fills me both with sadness and with gratitude for the immense work he did for breastfeeding and the regulation of marketing of substitutes. Starting when there was no academic future in this field, and when very little was known or noticed about the impediments that women were facing, he put the issue on the map for many of us. His work contributed to the international consensus and policies that now represent an immense step forward for mothers and babies, and I have no doubt that the lessening of infant mortality globally that we are seeing now is his legacy for the world. And through all the hard work, he remained a positive personality and a good friend to many of us.

Helen Armstrong
278 Wrights Mill Road
Coventry CT 06238

So sorry to hear about The passing away of Prof M Latham. He has contributed so much to the Nutrition field, may his soul rest in peace.

Lynn Moeng
Director: Nutrition Ministry of Health South Africa

This is a sad loss to the Nutrition fraternity as well as to advocates of breastfeeding. We thank God for his life and having allowed him to make such a tremendous contribution to our work. We are that much richer because he lived. Some of us fondly remember him when we were privileged to at the celebration of his 80th Birthday in Malaysia. May His soul rest in peace.

Joyce Chanetsa
IBFAN Africa

My condolences! Professor made a lot of effort to improve the wellbeing of women and children especially in Africa. We are using a lot of his materials to make policies and programmes in most parts of the world and indeed although gone, he has left a lot behind – his name and I believe this is a lesson to all of us. May his soul rest in eternal peace….

Barbara Nalubanga Tembo
Programme Manager
International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) Uganda

Thanks for sharing this message with me. I met Prof when he visited UZ / IFNFS and he made great contribution in shaping the UZ IFNFS Degrees. May his Soul rest in Perfect Peace.

Mrs. J. Nyatsanza

What a loss.
May his soul rest in peace.


Thoko Ncube : Nutritionist Unicef Zimbabwe

May God rest his soul in peace and give his family the strength to go on without him.

Michael was not only a champion for breastfeeding and nutrition, he was such a wonderfully humane person and so easily approachable. I will always treasure my brief interactions with him and the encouragement he gave me as I spoke out about accepting industry money for international meetings and conferences.

We will miss him indeed.....!

Rukhsana Haider

This is indeed sad news for all of us who got to know his work and occasionally met him at meetings. We will miss his great expertise

Rachel Musoke

If you'd like to share a few words or a message on how Michael has impacted your life, please send it to the Secretariat and we will post it here.

World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
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