Barmer: Cairn India, the firm
that discovered the nation`s largest onland oil field, today
flagged off a week-long campaign in Barmer, Rajasthan, to
generate awareness about the importance of breastfeeding for
enhancing immunity in infants.
The programme, being run in association with the Indian
Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), was inaugurated by Barmer MP
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in more than 120
countries to encourage breastfeeding as an important way to
improve the health and development of infants and young
As part of its child and maternal health initiative,
Cairn India, in association with the IAP, is organising `World
Breast Feeding Week` from August 1 to 7, covering 10 locations
in Barmer district, the company said in a statement here.
The week-long programme will be organised at schools,
nursing colleges, general colleges, hospitals, medical
institutions and other public places in the district through
On the occasion, Cairn India also flagged off a
one-of-its-kind Mobile Health Van (MHV) service in Barmer to
provide basic healthcare to people of this area.
The MHV service will cover 32 villages in the Guda Malani
and Sanchore tehsils of Barmer district. The van, equipped
with the most modern amenities, will provide curative and
preventive healthcare services to cater to villages across
Cairn India`s operational areas.
Speaking on the occasion, MP Choudhary said: "It is a
commendable step taken by state health department, IAP and
Cairn India in order to sound the alarm bell on this issue.
This will generate awareness among the people of Barmer about
the essential needs to ensure better health of children."
Barmer is the place where Cairn made the largest oil find
in more than two decades.
A recent survey indicates that two million children under
five years of age die -- one every 15 seconds -- each year in
India, the highest mortality rate anywhere in the world.
Global evidence shows that optimal breastfeeding is the
most important child survival intervention and the earlier the
baby is breastfed within the first hour of birth, the better.
Only 25 per cent of mothers in the country initiate
breastfeeding within the first hour after birth.
In Rajasthan, the percentage of breastfed children is
just 14 per cent, while in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, this
figure is 4 and 7 per cent, respectively.
The government and international organisations recommend
that infants be fed only breast milk for the first six months
of life, with no other foods or fluids, not even water. This
is referred to as exclusive breastfeeding.
However, in Rajasthan, only 46 per cent of infants are
exclusively breastfed. The situation is worse in Haryana,
where only 10 per cent of the children are lucky enough to
receive exclusive breastfeeding, the lowest percentage in the