MP govt, UNICEF to raise breastfeeding awareness

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh government in collaboration with UNICEF is set to launch a campaign starting Wednesday to bring awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.

The 37-day drive, which will be complementing the World Breastfeeding Week, observed in the start of August, is being undertaken by the departments of Women and Child Development and Health in partnership with UNICEF-India.

"Madhya Pradesh has made progress in promoting this simple intervention (breastfeeding) but need is that we reach out to all 73 million people of the state with key message that mother`s milk, in first six months of life, makes children healthier and saves their life," a release quoting Madhya Pradesh field office chief of UNICEF, Dr Tania Goldner, said.

The campaign will start from tomorrow and will continue till National Nutrition week which is marked in September.

Madhya Pradesh has an infant mortality rate of 62 per 1,000 births, meaning that out of every 1000 children born today, 62 will die before their first birthday, the release said.

"Interventions like early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and age appropriate complementary feeding at completion of six months with continued breastfeeding till two years of age have potential to reduce child mortality with 19 per cent," Goldner said.

"Breastfeeding alone has an extraordinary range of benefits. Breast milk provides all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals an infant needs for growth in the first six months of age, and no other liquids or food are needed, the release said.

"In addition, breast milk carries antibodies from the mother that increase child`s immunity and help combat infection and diseases," it added.