New Delhi: If India were to universalize breastfeeding in coming years, new evidence tells us that it could reduce thousands of child deaths and episodes of diarrhoea, pneumonia annually.
Also, a 3 point increase in IQ of all children, rich or poor has been reported.
Among the long- term health benefits breastfeeding can prevent 1 out of 3 new cases of type 2 diabetes (35%), and can reduce obesity by 26%. It can also help in reducing 4915 deaths due to breast cancer annually in women.
Taking on from the Lancet series this World Breastfeeding Week the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) a 25 year old registered, independent, non-profit, national organization working towards protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding of infants & young children have come up with a document titled "Breastfeeding Lancet Series 2016: India’s Road Map”.
The document provides India specific future plan of action and investment estimates for breastfeeding interventions on scaling up breastfeeding rates to realize these gains.
BPNI states that media plays an important in building the momentum for policy and programmes advocacy in the country. Following are the recommended actions:
1. Appoint lactation counsellors in health facilities, both public and private, who would educate and provide skilled practical help for mothers. In the communities provide same education using trained peer counsellors and mother support groups.
2. MoHFW should implement the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) on a priority.
3. Provide adequate maternity protection covering workplace policies such as paid maternity leave of 9 months for all women, adequate breastfeeding breaks and space in the workplace. For poor women provide cash support through Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).
4. Enforce the Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 1992, and Amendment Act 2003 (IMS Act) in every State effectively.
5. Allocate required funds for these interventions in assured budgets under child nutrition and health.
6. Develop and monitor these plans nationally and state wise at high level Bi-annually.