HYDERABAD: AS per WHO recommendations, every infant should be exclusively breastfed for at least six months. In Telangana, “exclusive breastfeeding” stands at 67 per cent now, according to the latest National Family Health Survey of 2016. To remedy this, while observing World Breastfeeding Day, Niloufer Hospital on Thursday launched a week-long awareness programme on breastfeeding. The event is organised by the hospital’s Neonatology department, headed by Dr Himabindu Singh.
On the occasion, M Jagadeeshwar, Principal Secretary of Women and Child Welfare, said: “The State aims to achieve hundred per cent breastfeeding. The government will soon take up a massive ‘awareness’ drive across the State soon.” Jagadeeshwar called upon the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Telangana chapter to take the lead by chalking out a meticulous and time-bound programme to achieve the set goal. “I’d like the IMA to prepare an action plan within the next two to three months, and organise village-level awareness and training programmes to educate pregnant mothers on the matter. Everyone should realise how the mother’s milk alone would help the overall and healthy growth of a newborn,” he said.
He also assured the IMA and other professional bodies who wish to take part in this massive campaign of all logical and financial support. Jagadeeshwar also suggested that, if necessary, District Medical and Health Officers (DMHO) should be directed to make breastfeeding mandatory soon after the mother gives birth.
Dr Sanjeev Upadhyay (Health Specialist) of UNICEF said it was unfortunate that the breastfeeding campaign was launched way back in the 1980s, but has still not been able to take off on expected lines.