Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

India ranks 56th in early initiation of breastfeeding, say UNICEF, WHO


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important International institutions

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: Highlights of the report

Mains level: Importance of breastfeeding


Breastfeeding scenario over the world

  1. A new report released by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked Sri Lanka at the top of the list of countries with early initiation of breastfeeding.
  2. The report released ahead of World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 to 7), says that only two in five newborns are breastfed within the first hour of life across the world.
  3. The first feed, or colostrum, is termed as the baby’s first vaccine and is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies.
  4. Continuous and exclusive breastfeeding thereafter is also important.

Performance of the countries

  1. India ranks 56th among the 76 countries that were analyzed.
  2. Countries like Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Bhutan and Uruguay have fared much better than India, making it into the top 10.
  3. Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Montenegro are at the bottom.

Low awareness holds India back

  1. Though nearly 80% of births are institutional deliveries in India, there are missed opportunities of early initiation of breastfeeding due to low awareness among healthcare staff.
  2. The early initiation period has doubled in NFHS 4 as compared to NFHS 3.
  3. But more progress can be made by capitalizing on opportunities and creating awareness at the community level.
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