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MoH&FW plans initiatives for Breastfeeding Week

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The theme of this year’s breastfeeding week is ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding’

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has planned various activities at the national level in this week in association with IAP and Rammohan Lohia Hospital to celebrate Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding Week is observed in the first week of August to focus attention on the important aspect of promotion and support of breastfeeding. The theme of this year’s breastfeeding week is ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding’.

The Health Ministry has initiated a nationwide programme called ‘MAA-Mother’s Absolute Affection’ to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding and provision of services towards supporting breastfeeding, along with ongoing efforts of routine health systems. In addition, “National Guidelines on Lactation Management Centres in Public Health Facilities” have been recently released to facilitate establishment of lactation management centres for ensuring that the sick and pre-term babies are fed with safe human breast milk.

The key components of the MAA programme are awareness generation, promotion of breastfeeding and inter personal counselling at community level, skilled support for breastfeeding at delivery points and monitoring and Award/ recognition of health facility. Under this programme, ASHA has been incentivised for reaching out to pregnant and lactating mothers and provide information on benefits and techniques of successful breastfeeding during interpersonal communication. ANMs at all sub-centres and health personnel at all delivery points are being trained for providing skilled support to mothers referred with issues related to breastfeeding.

Under NHM, funding support has been recommended for all states and UTs (since 2016) for successful implementation of the MAA programme. 23 states have started implementing various activities under MAA programme such as one day sensitisation of health staffs, convergence meetings with line departments, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) training of staffs at health facilities, communication activities using mass media and mid-media etc. Around 2.5 lakhs ASHAs and 40,000 health staffs including programme managers at district and block level, doctors (MOs), staff nurses (SNs) and ANMs have been sensitised for breastfeeding promotion strategies under MAA programme and around 2800 health facility staffs (MOs, SNs and ANMs) are trained in four days IYCF training. In addition more than 75,000 mother’s meetings were also carried out by ASHAs at village level to sensitize mothers regarding importance of appropriate breastfeeding practices.

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