Statistics state that 270,000 infants born in Uttar Pradesh (UP) die in the first month of their birth and every sixth malnutrition child lives in UP.
"The grim situation of infant mortality and child
malnutrition can be changed overnight if every pregnant woman in the state
ensure that her newborn gets mother's milk in the first hour of birth,"
said Dr KP Kushwaha.
A paediatrician and a great advocate of breastfeeding, Dr
Kushwaha, Head of the Department of Paediatrics, BRD Medical College,
Gorakhpur, was addressing media persons at the monthly Media for Children
hosted jointly by Media Nest and UNICEF at the Uttar Pradesh Press Club on
every second Saturday afternoon.
Dr Kushwaha said that malnutrition will drastically bring
down the GDP and will add to 50 per cent death of infants. He bemoaned the
facts that social customs and psychological mindset prevents a mother from
breastfeeding her child immediately after his birth.
"It is sad, but true that only 46.4 per cent of
mother's do exclusive breastfeeding. The other 53.6 per cent do not even
realize the great harm they are doing to their child, society and
country," said Dr Kushwaha who has passionately pursued his mission to
ensure a healthier society through mother's following the baby friendly health
Through audio visual medium he explained the correct methods
of breastfeeding. Dr Kushwaha said that though it is said repeatedly that
breastfeeding is a natural instinct of all mothers the truth is that it is a
technique that must be taught to a woman and for this trained counselors are
Dr Kushwaha illustrated this information with the work he
and his team have done in Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh. He said that the
baby friendly health initiative (BFHI) in just one a half year of initiating
this project in 600 villages the percentage of mothers who exclusively
breastfed their child was raised from a mere 6.6 per cent to 50 per cent.
In the same way the percentage of mother's who initiated
breastfeeding within an hour rose from 10.9 per cent in November 2006 to 72 per
cent in April 2008.
Listing the USD 80,000 billion dollars infant food market as
one of the main hurdles that confronts the practice of mother's milk Dr
Kushwaha said that there are laws against infant foods' availability and their
open advertisements but the money involved is so huge that often these laws
remain just on paper.
Speaking on the occasion Mr Augustine Veliath, communication
specialist of UNICEF said that Dr Kushwaha is the rarest of rare doctor who has
through his devotion to the cause helped save millions of children.
"His behavioral change in infant feeding pattern has
received great response not just in India but also abroad. Dr Kushwaha is today
an authority on the issue and his 'best practice experiments' are being used
all over the world," said Mr Veliath.
In her vote of thanks, senior journalist and secretary
general of Media Nest, Kulsum Talha, thanked Dr Kushwaha for raising awareness
of the media persons on this issue, helping build their capacity, which is the
motive of the programme.
The programme was conducted by senior journalist Durgesh
Contributed by: Bobby Ramakant