Improvement in maternal and child health and promotion of awareness among adolescents on reproductive child health takes prominence among the initiatives of Essar Foundation. The Aanchal project in Raniganj CBM area is aimed at improving these indicators with a multi-pronged strategy of outreach and intervention. Under this project, to mark the World Breastfeeding Week, Essar Foundation organized two day-long programs in the primary health centers of Molandighi and Kataberia, with technical support partner CINI and Block Primary Health Centre on 6 and 7 August, 2013 respectively.
World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is an annual celebration held every year from August 1-7 in more than 120 countries. This year's theme – Breastfeeding support: Close to mothers -- highlighted breastfeeding peer counseling. Community support system for mothers is essential to ensure sustained breastfeeding. According to the Annual Health Survey 2011, only 46% of mothers engage in breastfeeding for the first six months.
The two-day program had multiple components like quiz contests, an awareness rally, a documentary film show, counseling and medical check-up of lactating mothers and malnourished children. On the first day, the program started with an awareness rally at Molandighi village. “Babies’ Crawl”, a documentary film on breastfeeding was organized for lactating mothers. BMOH Kanksa, Dr Sathi Roy Chowdhury and other government health functionaries graced the event and shared information about the importance of colostrum, appropriate methods of breastfeeding, importance of breast milk in child development etc.
On the second day, mothers, adolescents, medical officers and other health functionaries participated in the events at Kataberia. WBW events were aimed at promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life for tremendous health benefits, critical nutrients, protection from deadly diseases such as pneumonia and fostering growth and development.