Report by OD bureau, Bhubaneswar: ‘Initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of child birth, exclusive breastfeeding till six months and breastfeeding with supplementary nutrition till two years of age is extremely vital for a child to grow properly’ said Dr. B. P. Mohapatra, Deputy Director, Nutrition, Director of Health Services, Government of Odisha. He was addressing the state level celebration of World Breastfeeding Week at Bhubaneswar organized by Save the Children.
To mark the global celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (1st – 7th August 2012), Save the Children, one of the world’s leading independent child rights organization has taken up various promotional activities in operational districts as well as at state level. To improve the maternal, child health and nutrition, Save the Children is implementing a project titled ‘Strengthening Maternal, New Born Child Health & Nutrition Services in India’ in Kandhamal & Nuapada districts of Odisha.
Celebration of the week with the global theme ‘Understanding the Past – Planning the Future’ and the theme of this year set by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India ‘Taking stock of Policies and Programs’ is to draw attention to the health impact of breastfeeding for both children and mothers. It focuses on the importance of looking back in celebration at the breastfeeding promotion accomplishments over the past years and taking this knowledge into planning for the future about what more can be done to support all women who choose to breastfeed.
To reduce Infant Mortality Rate from 64.7/ 1000 live birth, where Odisha stands with 21st rank (India IMR 57/ 1000) early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age can play a crucial role.
The NFHS III has revealed the status of breastfeeding in Odisha. State has been ranked 7th position in the country for initiating breastfeeding within one hour of child birth with 54.8 percent and ranked 12th in exclusive breastfeeding within six months having only 50.2 percent.
‘We need to promote this practice across the state through a concerted effort by all – government, front line health workers, development actors and practitioners. We must join hands to reduce infant mortality rate in our state’ said Sasank Padhi, Odisha State Program Manager for Save the Children.
Among others Dr. A. Sen, UNICEF, Ms. Mona Jetwa, Women & Child Development Department, Dr. Soumyakanta Mishra, Program Coordinator, Health, Save the Children, representatives from Self Help Groups, ASHAs, Women Groups, NGOs, media houses were present in the function.