UP, Delhi and Rajasthan among worst performers in breastfeeding

  1. According to Union Health Ministry,Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Punjab performed worst in the practice of breastfeeding.
  2. The report notes that these states have the lowest rate for breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for six months and complementary breastfeeding from six to nine months.
  3. Further,the States that have topped the report card include Mizoram, Sikkim, Odisha and Manipur.
  4. The World Health Organisation says that if breastfeeding was scaled up to near-universal levels,lives of about 8 lakh children could be saved every year.However,globally only 40% of infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
  5. The advantages of Breastfeeding include (a)reducing the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer (b)breastfeeding can prevent neonatal mortality and (c)breastfeeding for six months can reduce under-five deaths significantly.
  6. The report has recommended counselling and practical support to women both during the time of birth and later and linking them to community workers are key to promoting breastfeeding.