Let’s make breastfeeding a shared societal responsibility: Dr Harsh Vardhan

“Breastfeeding should not be seen as an issue that concerns only women and mothers. Let’s make the breastfeeding a shared societal responsibility where not only the mother but all in her family, community and also at work place are considerate and support the feeding mother by creating an enabling environment.”

This was stated by Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare at a function to mark the World Breastfeeding Week-2019, in New Delhi, last evening. Even the theme of this year of World Breastfeeding Week is ‘to empower parents, enable breastfeeding: now and for the future’, he added.

The Union Health Minister also released a Report Card on Breastfeeding & Infant & Child Feeding Practices with data from the State and UTs, along with new communication material in the presence of Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS (HFW) and Ms Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), senior officers of MoHFW, and representatives of various Development Partner agencies.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that breastfeeding is the most cost effective intervention that addresses the survive and thrive agenda of child health. It is the first vaccine that protects both the mother and child. Studies have highlighted how breastfeeding could prevent diseases and deaths in children and future breast and ovarian cancer in mothers.

“Early initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth can prevent neonatal mortality; whereas exclusive breastfeeding for six months significantly reduces episodes of diarrhoea and pneumonia in infants and children,” he said.

To intensify the efforts towards promotion and support of breastfeeding, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the activities advocating benefits of breastfeeding should not be limited to only a week in August.

“The activities around breastfeeding should be sustained throughout the year and therefore Health Ministry will be carrying out activities to promote breastfeeding by creating awareness about its multi-fold benefits from 1st to 7th of every month till 2022,” he stressed. T

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