World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from 1st to 7th August annually in more than 170 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. Essar Foundation and Essar Steel came together to commemorate the occasion by organising an event in Handia village in Paradeep, Odisha, on 5th August 2015. The programme focused on generating awareness and garnering support for breastfeeding among local women.
Dr Niranjan Dwivedy, ex-medical officer, spoke on various aspects of breast milk, which most doctors advise as the only food that babies should be given in the first six months of their lives. He talked about long-term benefits of breastfeeding, and how it provides critical nutrients, builds immunity and fosters healthy development in the baby. He added that nutritious foods that complement mother’s milk should be gradually introduced. A question and answer session followed, where mothers discussed their difficulties and challenges and were offered solutions to their problems.
Mr Askhaya Mohanty, president of the Handia village committee, lauded Essar’s efforts in organising the event. Around 50 women, including local self-help group members, expecting mothers, Anganwadi workers and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers, participated in the event. A quiz was organised for expecting mothers and the winners given prizes.