New Delhi: A mobile application to promote breastfeeding and keep a tab on "inappropriate" promotion of baby food items was launched today by Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram.
Developed by the Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI), the first-of-its-kind app, 'Stanpan Suraksha', has a baby food promotion reporting mechanism where any person can click a photograph of "inappropriate" promotion around them of baby food and related equipment and send it to BPNI.
BPNI will document and analyse the reports and follow up with required action. This feature will empower people to keep check on the baby food industry.
Launching the app here, Oram said programmes to promote breastfeeding are limited to urban women and emphasised that rural women also need to be targeted. He stressed the need for involving Anganwadi and ASHA workers for the same.
Dr Arun Kumar Panda, Additional Secretary, the Ministry of Health, said, "Seventy-nine per cent of the babies are delivered in institutions, out of which 45 per cent are given breastmilk in the first hour. This needs to be improved."
"Ten states as on today have implemented the MAA (Mothers Absolute Affection) programme launched by the government of India, while others need to implement it soon. There are cultural barriers and myths associated with breastfeeding which needs to be addressed too," Panda said.
Dr Arun Gupta, Central Coordinator of BPNI and Regional Coordinator of IBFAN Asia, said the app also has a city-wise database of trained breastfeeding counsellor who can educate and provide assistance to mothers during antenatal and postnatal period.
Other features include sign up option for mothers who wish to become a breastfeeding counsellor, pledging for petition and donation. "Undermining of breastfeeding practices is rampant in the country. The app will be instrumental in gathering incremental evidence to report on promotion of baby foods from remote locations," Gupta said.