New Delhi: Breastfeeding, a natural way of feeding a child builds a special bond between a mother and her children from day one. It is a way of providing young infants with the essential nutrients required for their growth and development. Breastfeeding is broadly categorised into immediate and exclusive breastfeeding. While it is recommended to initiate immediate breastfeeding within one hour of the birth, exclusive breastfeeding involves feeding only mother’s milk for the first six months. As per an online tool ‘cost of not breastfeeding’, developed by Alive and Thrive, currently, in India, only 55 per cent of children are exclusively breastfed.
The World Health Assembly (WHA) has set a target to increase the global exclusive breastfeeding rate from 38 per cent in 2012 to 50 per cent by 2025. To contribute to this global goal, India has to achieve 65.7 per cent rate by 2025. The global goal will also help the nation wants to avert human and economic losses.
Consequences Of Inadequate Breastfeeding In India
1. When children are not breastfed and provided essential elements for their well-being, they fall prey to life-threatening diseases and are less capable of battling sicknesses. Inadequate breastfeeding leads to 1 lakh preventable child deaths.
2. Lack of breastfeeding weaken the immune system of children, making them prone to contracting diarrhoea-causing pathogens and pneumonia. This often leads to 37 million cases of diarrhoea and pneumonia.
3. It is not just children but mothers too face the wrath of insufficient breastfeeding. It often leads to breast cancer, ovarian cancer and type II diabetes.
4. Poor breastfeeding puts additional pressure on the family’s household expenditure budget as when a child is not breastfed, one needs to buy substitutes.
5. Being prone to diseases due to a deficiency in breastfeeding adds to the cost on health care and treatment.
How Breastfeeding Can Change Morbidity And Mortality Rate
1. In India, if children are breastfed, over 3 crore (34,791,524) cases of diarrhoea and 41,882 cases of diarrhoeal death can be prevented.
2. Over 24 lakh (2,470,429) instances of acute respiratory infections and pneumonia and 57,669 cases of death can be averted among children.
3. 40,382 cases of obesity can also be avoided with adequate breastfeeding.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.