WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Health)

News-CRUX-10     3rd August 2023        

Context: Many countries have made significant strides towards increasing the rate of exclusive breastfeeding, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, August 1, 2023.

  • Exclusive breastfeeding means feeding your baby only breast milk, not any other foods or liquids (including infant formula or water), except for medications or vitamin and mineral supplements.

Key Points

  • Each year, the first week of August is designated as World Breastfeeding Week. 
  • The week-long event aims to raise awareness about the significance of breastfeeding for infant development.
  • The theme for this year is “Let’s make breastfeeding at work, work”, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the WHO announced, emphasising the need for greater breastfeeding support across all workplaces to sustain and improve progress on breastfeeding rates globally.
  • Globally, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding has increased by a remarkable 10 percentage points over the past decade, reaching 48 per cent.
  • Breastfeeding is the ultimate child survival and development intervention, from the earliest moments of a child’s life. 
  • It protects babies from common infectious diseases and boosts children’s immune systems, providing the key nutrients children need to grow and develop to their full potential. 
  • Babies who are not breastfed are 14 times more likely to die before they reach their first birthday than babies who are exclusively breastfed. 

‘MAA’ (Mothers’ Absolute Affection) Programme

  • The Government of India launched the MAA Programme in 2016, to support the efforts towards promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding practices through health systems to achieve higher breastfeeding rates.
  • It is a nationwide programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The objectives of the MAA Programme;
    • Build a positive environment for breastfeeding through awareness generation activities, targeting pregnant and lactating mothers, family members and society to promote optimal breastfeeding practices.
    • Strengthen lactation support services at public health facilities through trained healthcare providers and skilled community health workers.g
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