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Let's make breastfeeding a shared societal responsibility: Dr Vardhan

Let's make breastfeeding a shared societal responsibility: Dr Vardhan

New Delhi, Aug 8 (UNI) Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said breastfeeding should not be seen as an issue that concerns only women and mothers, but be made a shared societal responsibility.

Addressing a function here to mark the World Breastfeeding Week-2019, he said breastfeeding should be made 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.

Even the theme of this year of World Breastfeeding Week is 'to empower parents, enable breastfeeding: now and for the future,' he added.

The 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 Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey; Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), senior officers of MoHFW and representatives of various Development Partner agencies.

Dr 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.

To intensify the efforts towards promotion and support of breastfeeding, Dr 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.

The Minister added that the Health Ministry is giving highest importance to this intervention and is already supporting the States in implementing a nationwide programme named - ‘MAA’ (Mothers’ Absolute Affection).

“This involves a comprehensive set of activities on promotion and support of breastfeeding at community and facility levels, through building an enabling environment,” Dr Vardhan elaborated.

About the Report Card released by him, he said based on the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) data, this Ministry has prepared the State Specific Report Card on breastfeeding.

UNI AE RJ 2004

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