- State wise Institutional deliveries
Early breastfeeding practices in India: Missing link with institutional deliveries in India
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- Institutional deliveries refer to the facilities like hospitals, trained health care professionals etc. for women for giving birth to child. These are often promoted for reducing maternal and neo-natal mortality.
- However, Institutional deliveries do not guarantee early initiation of breastfeeding (colostrum), within an hour of child birth.
- According to the fourth National Family Health Survey, even though 80 per cent deliveries are now institutional in many states, the rate of early breastfeeding is between 30 per cent and 60 per cent.
State wise Institutional deliveries
- 57 % newborns are breastfed within an hour of birth, while 90 per cent deliveries take place in institutions.
- In India’s most populous state, 67 per cent deliveries took place in institutions, yet it recorded the lowest early initiation of breastfeeding rates in the country (25 %).
- Madhya Pradesh in the past years recorded high levels of neonatal and infant mortality, maternal mortality and malnutrition.
- It has 80 % deliveries in institutions, but only 34 % children received early breastfeeding.
- In Bhopal, 91 per cent deliveries are institutional, but only 17 % children are breastfed early. However, in tribal-dominated districts more than 50 % children are given breast milk early.
- 84 % deliveries are taking place in institutions, yet only 28 per cent newborns are breastfed within one hour of birth.
- It reported 90 per cent institutional deliveries. Yet, only 30 % of the newborns received breastfeed within an hour of birth.
- Odisha was among states with the highest rate of early breastfeeding in the country. It had 85 % institutional deliveries and 69 % of the children were breastfed within an hour of birth.
- Among north-eastern states, Meghalaya had 51 per cent institutional deliveries, while 60 per cent children were breastfed within an hour of birth.
- In Mizoram, 80 per cent deliveries are institutional and 73 per cent children were fed with breast milk within an hour of birth.
- In Kerala, 99.9 per cent deliveries are institutional and 63 per cent children are breastfed within one hour of birth.
To achieve the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 3.2) to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under-five, by 2030, a set of interventions are required to be followed. They include:
- Strict implementation of infant milk substitute, feeding bottles and infant foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 1992). There are evidences that infant milk substitute producers are trying to replace breast milk with packaged infant products in partnership with medical professionals and institutions.
- Efforts must be strengthened for outreach services under health and nutrition programmes.
- Amendment must be made in Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojan to ensure that all women, without any conditions, receive maternity entitlements that would compensate their labour and wages for a period of nine months.
- Sufficient allocation of budgets for supporting breastfeeding under National Health Mission, National Food Security Act, Integrated Child Development Services etc.
- Make sure that delivery points and health institutions do not de-motivate mothers and families towards early breastfeeding.
- Capacity building, respect and space of frontline workers — Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHAs) and Anganwadi Workers.
- Sick newborn care units must be equipped with essential support for early initiation of breastfeeding.
- Breast feeding has several benefits for both the infants and mothers. However, despite strong evidences in support of breast feeding, its prevalence has remained low in India.
- India is among the world’s five largest emerging economies where investment in breastfeeding is significantly low resulting in an annual economic loss of $14 billion because of child deaths and cognitive losses caused from poor breastfeeding practices.
- Though awareness among women for breastfeeding has increased, the investment in infrastructure mainly in workplaces remain negligible in India.