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Puducherry observes World Breastfeeding Week

Puducherry observes World Breastfeeding Week Published Date : 10 Aug 2018
JIPMER hosts health education session in collaboration with Department of Women and Child Development
Rallies, role-plays, bonnie baby contests and interactive awareness sessions were part of the recently-concluded World Breastfeeding Week celebrations on this year’s theme, ‘Breastfeeding: Foundation of Life’.

At JIPMER, various activities were led by the Department of Neonatology in coordination with other departments of Pediatrics, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the College of Nursing.

On Tuesday, JIPMER hosted a health education session in collaboration with the Department of Women and Child Development.

The programme focused on educating Anganwadi workers, self-help group members, public health nurses and public about importance of breastfeeding.

Key message

The key message was that exclusive breastfeeding is mandatory for six months. Supplementary food can be started by six months and breastfeeding can be continued till two years. Also, breastfeeding needs to be started within one hour after delivery.

R. Alice Vaz, Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, S. Yesvanthaiyah, Director, R.Vijaya Child Development Project Officer, and V.S. Senthilkumar, from JIPMER participated.

Dr. Nivedita Mondal, Associate Professor, Department of Neonatology, JIPMER, led a panel discussion with experts including Dr. Jayalakshmi, Paediatrician, Dr. Swaroop Kumar Sahu and Dr. K.C. Premarajan.

Sri Venkateshwaraa Medical College Hospital and Research Centre hosted the week-long events.

Dr. S. C. Parija, Director,, who presided over the inaugural function, spoke on various health initiatives that were started by the institute to improve the health of mother and child.

Milk bank

One such initiative, he said, was starting a “Human breast milk bank”. This centre would have facilities to hygienically preserve the milk donated by post natal mothers. The preserved milk will be made available to needy newborn babies, who for medical reasons, cannot be breastfed by their mothers.

“These measures will save the lives of many newborn babies,” he said.

Dr. S. Ratnasamy, Dean, SVMCHRC, observed that breastfeeding strengthens the emotional bond between the mother and baby. Dr. Muniyappan, Medical Superintendent, was among those who participated.

Nursing College students have showcased their models at an exhibition representing various aspects of breastfeeding.

A bonnie baby contest and quiz competitions were also held.

According to global estimates, only 40% of all babies under 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed and only 45% continue breastfeeding up to 24 months of age.

In India, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4, 2015-16), has estimated that only 41.6% of infants in India are breastfed within one hour of birth and only 54.9% are exclusively breastfed for six months.

It is estimated that scaling up optimal breastfeeding can prevent more than 8,23,000 child deaths each year.

Optimal nutrition during the first two years of a child’s life is crucial, as it lowers morbidity and mortality, reduces the risk of chronic diseases and fosters better neurological development. In addition, breastfeeding can also prevent breast and ovarian cancer in mothers.

It can prevent over 20,000 maternal deaths. According to a recent Lancet series, breast milk makes the world healthier, smarter and more equal.

The week-long programme began with an awareness rally on August 1 by medicine and nursing students.

WHO recommendations

The World Health Organisation which advocates exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, recommends as the next best option in cases where the mother’s own milk is unavailable or insufficient, using Pasteurised Donor Human Milk (PDHM).

To bridge this need, JIPMER has set up Amudham Thaipaal Maiyam (ATM) the first human milk bank in the Union Territory.

The facility, which recently completed two years of newborn care services, has cumulatively mobilised over 4,000 donations from post-natal mothers, and pooled, pasteurised and distributed the feed to needy infants.

The PDHM has helped save the lives of innumerable pre-term babies who are sick by protecting them from gut sepsis and other infections. Abandoned neonates and babies whose mother die in the immediate post-partum period are also among the beneficiaries of the milk bank.



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Calendar 2018