The sources said that malnutrition-related infant deaths in Palghar district came down to 38 this year from 93 last year.
Mumbai: A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) study has shown that India’s budgetary allocation for encouraging breastfeeding and milk banks is less as compared to other countries. The study also revealed that in India, less than 50 per cent of children are breastfed within an hour of birth, whereas the exclusive breastfeeding rate in the first six months is 55 per cent. According to the study, early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding can prevent nearly 99,499 deaths of children every year in India that are caused by diarrhoea, undernourishment and pneumonia.
Asked about the WHO study, Maharashtra health department sources said that the state had lower child mortality rates as compared to other states. They said that the department creates awareness about breastfeeding, and this has shown positive results. The sources said that malnutrition-related infant deaths in Palghar district came down to 38 this year from 93 last year.
C.K. Mishra, secretary (health), government of India said, “Yes, we still have to work hard and spread awareness regarding breastfeeding. There are programmes such as the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) and National Breastfeeding Promotion Programme - MAA (mothers' absolute affection).
Shortage of milk banks
There are only a few human milk banks in the state, a Maharashtra health service official said. A milk bank run at the civic-run Sion hospital had collected 822 litre of milk last year and 830 litre of milk this year till mid-December.
According to sources, doctors have said there is lack of awareness among people about the donation of milk.
According to the government central ministry officials, 64.9 per cent children are exclusively breastfed for the first six months in India. Around 20 per cent newborn deaths and 13 per cent, under-five deaths can be prevented by early initiation of breastfeeding.