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Experts call for promoting breast feeding in Odisha

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Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, Aug 4:

Experts in new born and infant health today emphasised the importance of the first breast milk (colostrum) in protecting the new born against a variety of diseases and vulnerabilities.

UntitledSpeaking at a State Level Consultation on World Breastfeeding Week at Red Cross Bhawan here today, the experts aid colostrum, a  highly nutritious substance which contains antibodies that protect the newborn from diseases. Evidence shows that early initiation of breastfeeding can prevent 22 percent of all deaths among babies below one month in developing countries, they said.

The procedure and method of breast feeding was discussed by these experts at the event jointly organised by Child Health Now (CHN), Odisha and World Vision India.

They also discussed details about the impact of cholesterol feeding, the relationship between mother and child and how breast feeding prevents diseases to child etc.

More than 100 pregnant and lactating mothers and civil society members, representatives from Self Help Groups (SHGs), ASHAs, AWW, ANM, Women Groups, NGOs, and media houses had participated in the consultation programme.

A flex poster on benefits of Breastfeeding was also released on the occasion.

The theme for the World Breastfeeding Week this year, to be observed from August 1 to 7, is: ‘Breastfeeding Support: A Winning Goal for Life!.

A report by World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 53 per cent of pneumonia and 55 per cent of diarrhoea deaths are attributable to poor feeding practices during the first six months of life. India has dismal rates of infant feeding practices and these are not rising satisfactorily.

Under-nutrition affects about a quarter of all children globally, 40 per cent of which is India’s contribution. Major killers of infants include neonatal infections, diarrhea and pneumonia, the report added.

Gouranga Mohapatra, Convener of CHN Odisha, said his organisation is not only working for breast feeding promotion but also to address the overall maternal and child health issues in the state. “We must join hands to reduce infant mortality rate in our state by promoting this practice across the state through a concerted effort by the government, front line health workers, development actors, community people and practitioners,” he said.

Prafulla Das, senior journalist, emphasized the role of media, government and front line health workers to ensure better health care access to the community. The media, he said, can play an important role in spreading the word around.

Among others Pragyan Choudhary, Nutrition Specialist of UNICEF, Golden Naik, Program Manager, World Vision India, Anangadev Singh, State Campaign Officer, World Vision India, Gobinda Pradhan, OXFAM Health Expert, Manjulata Nayak, CDPO, Bhubaneswar-II, Sadashiv Swain, CCWD and Bijayalaxmi Routray, Co-convener, CHN Odisha were present in the program.

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