Punjab Government is making continuous effort to provide quality healthcare services to newborn children under Mother & Child Healthcare programme and now, Punjab has improved considerably in terms of initiation of breastfeeding at birth from 30.7 percent as per NFHS-4 data (2015-16) to 81.7 percent as per the latest HMIS (Health Management Information System) data. It was disclosed by Health & Family Welfare Minister Punjab Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu today while releasing a poster regarding awareness campaign for World Breastfeeding Week.

Mr. Sidhu said that an intensified awareness campaign has been launched to raise awareness amongst the masses regarding benefits of breastfeeding and to remove any misconceptions or inhibitions about it. He further stated that our aim is to achieve 100 percent breastfeeding of newborn children as breastfeeding is particularly effective against infectious diseases because it strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother to the child.

Underlining the importance of World Breastfeeding Week, Director Health Services (Family Welfare) Dr. Andesh Kang said that every year World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is celebrated from 1st- 7th August as a global campaign to galvanize action on early initiation of breastfeeding. This Year the theme of the breastfeeding week is ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’. The theme aims at protecting and promoting breastfeeding and it is everyone’s responsibility to secure our future generation.

Dr. Kang further shared significant information that exclusive breastfeeding and continuing breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond have enormous benefits to newborns, infants, children and to the mothers as well. She said that keeping in view the benefits of breastfeeding and rarest possibility of vertical transmission breastfeeding is recommended to all Newborns regardless of the Covid status of the newborn/mother by following necessary infection prevention and control protocols. She also stressed on avoiding promotion of Breast Milk Substitutes, commercial formula foods and feeding equipment. Sensitization on prohibiting bottle feeding is also to be carried out during the WBW.

Adviser to the Health Minister Dr. Prabhdeep Kaur Johal added that, Room for breastfeeding – A dedicated room/space at all the health facilities for ensuring privacy of mothers during the breastfeeding has also been set up.

Giving more details regarding the WBW, Program Officer Dr. Inderdeep Kaur said that Breastfeeding Week – 2021 provides an opportunity to strengthen the actions needed for improving the breastfeeding practices. We have decided to celebrate the WBW-2021 with focused attention on ensuring early initiation of breastfeeding in both normal (within an hour) and c-section (within two hours) deliveries. In addition, promotion of Colostrum feeding and exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months of age along with continued breastfeeding till 2 years and beyond also needs to be focused at community and facility level.

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