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What’s in news?

Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Punjab fare the worst when it comes to the practice of breastfeeding.

Key data’s;

  • The Union Health Ministry, recently released a report card, which list the performance of state in breastfeeding.
  • The World Health Organisation says that if breastfeeding was scaled up to near-universal levels, lives of about 8,20,000 children could be saved every year.
  • Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
  • Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended by WHO as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth.
  • World Breastfeeding week was celebrated from August 1 to August 7, annually.

Key features of the report:

  • According to the report, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Punjab were the worst performance regard the same.
  • As per the report card, the regions like Mizoram, Sikkim, Odisha and Manipur, show good indicators in terms of the other parameters where children are breast fed exclusively for six months etc.
  • The districts in Uttar Pradesh (the state at the bottom of the list) which fared the worst for breastfeeding within one hour of child birth include Meerut, Bijnor, Shahjahanpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Gonda, Etawah and Mahamaya Nagar.
  • The ministry report notes that these states have the lowest rate for breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breast feeding for six months and complementary breastfeeding from six to nine months.
  • Inadequate breastfeeding puts a huge burden on our health system. With this, there is an urgent need to ensure a conducive environment for all mothers to practice breastfeeding at home, outside homes and workplaces.
  • Globally, only 40% infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.

The following are the benefits mentioned by the WHO regard breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers,
  • It helps to space children.
  • Reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, respiratory tract infections and diarrhea.
  • Increases family and national resources.
  • It is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment.
  • Improving nutritional status.
  • Reducing morbidity and mortality among children.
  • Benefits for the mother include less blood loss following delivery, better uterus shrinkage, and decreased postpartum depression.

NITI Aayog’s second health index:

  • The report has been prepared by NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with technical assistance from the World Bank.
  • As per this Index, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have emerged as top performing States in terms of their performance in various healthcare parameters.
  • In this report also, Uttar Pradesh was ranked worst performing state in the report.
  • Among larger states, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand were the top three states in terms of incremental performances.


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