New Delhi: The World Health Assembly (WHA) has set a target to increase global exclusive breastfeeding rate from 38 per cent in 2012 to 50 per cent in 2025 globally and in turn improve the health of the babies around the world. Currently, in India, only 55 per cent of children are exclusively breastfed; to contribute to the global goal India has to achieve a 65.7 per cent exclusive breastfeeding rate by 2025 as per the WHO tracking tool. To encourage breastfeeding, the world celebrates breastfeeding week from August 1 to August 7, every year.
Myths and stigma attached to something as common and pivotal as breastfeeding – a simple process of feeding your child and providing vital nutrients for his/her growth, makes breastfeeding a less common practice in the world, says Dr. Arun Gupta, Central Coordinator, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India.
As the world continues with its efforts to start a conversation around breastfeeding and actors like Neha Dhupia demand for ‘freedom to feed’, we bring to you the benefits of breastfeeding, as stated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Suboptimal breastfeeding contributes to more than 8,00,000 lakh infant deaths.
- Exclusive breastfeeding provides babies protection from respiratory infections, diarrhoeal disease, obesity and non-communicable diseases such as asthma and diabetes.
- Babies who are fed nothing but breastmilk from birth through their first 6 months of life get the best start. It provides babies with the perfect nutrition required for growth and brain development. It offers Vitamins E, A, D, K, C, B1, B2, B12, B6, Folasin and Niacin.
- Breastfeeding benefits both mothers and children. In the case of mothers, it decreases the risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, type 2 diabetes, postpartum depression and heart disease.
- As per an online tool ‘cost of not breastfeeding’, developed by Alive and Thrive, in India, over 97,000 instances of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes and above 11,000 cases of deaths among mothers can be averted.
About World Breastfeeding Week
Every year the first seven days of August are dedicated to celebrating breastfeeding week. The theme for this year’s breastfeeding week is ‘Empower parents, enable breastfeeding: Now and for the future!’ The week commemorates the Innocenti Declaration signed in August 1990 by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) and other organisations to protect, promote and support 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.