Why Breastfeeding In India Remains Low Priority
India is one of the five countries which see a massive number of child deaths because of inadequate breastfeeding. It is also one of world’s five largest emerging economies which invests very less in breastfeeding practices. And all this has led to an annual economic loss of $14 billion due to child deaths and cognitive losses in the country, a report states. Breastfeeding In India is low priority and that is having a colossal impact.
The report, compiled by UNICEF and WHO in collaboration with the Global Breastfeeding Collective, found that China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria cumulatively account for over 2,36,000 child deaths due to lack of breastfeeding. It also stated that every year, these countries collectively suffer a whopping $119 billion economic loss because of infanticide and cognitive losses.
The benefits of early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months can prevent nearly 99,499 child deaths from diarrhoea and pneumonia every year. Currently, India only sees 50% of children breastfed within an hour of birth and 55% infants exclusively breastfed within six months of birth. WHO recommends children be breastfed along with complementary foods till 2 years of age.
Protects against breast cancer
“We strongly recommend exclusive breastfeeding for first six months. This not only protects children by providing them immunity against a lot of diseases, but also helps mothers reduce weight and chances of breast cancer,” says Dr Indu Taneja, senior consultant (obstetrics & gynaecology) at Fortis, Now Breaking reported.
One of the key findings of the report is that the number of women dying due to cancer is growing in India. And Type II diabetes also results in improper breastfeeding.
“Breast milk works like a baby’s first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.
The report carried out a research of 194 countries and concluded that no country fully meets the prescribed breastfeeding standards. And only 23 countries have a exclusive breastfeeding rates higher than 60%.
A massive 60% children don’t receive any breast milk around the world.
It may be noted that an investment of only $4.70 per child is needed to increase the global rate of exclusive breastfeeding among children under six months to 50% by 2025. This initiative could also save 520,000 children under the age of five and generate $300 billion economic gains in the coming 10 years.
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