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Table of Contents   
LETTER TO THE EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1835-1836
Advocating for the implementation of recommended measures to improve infant and young child feeding


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication11-Jan-2018
 

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Advocating for the implementation of recommended measures to improve infant and young child feeding. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1835-6

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Advocating for the implementation of recommended measures to improve infant and young child feeding. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Nov 17];10:1835-6. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/6/1835/196625


Dear Sir,

Worldwide, every infant and young child has the right to healthy nutrition and is a crucial determinant to ensure child survival and facilitate optimal growth and well-being.[1] As the initial 2 years of life marks one of the most crucial phases, maintaining better nutrition during that period significantly reduces the risk of illnesses, deaths, and the onset of noncommunicable diseases.[1] The current global estimates suggest that undernutrition alone accounts for the death of more than 3 million children each year, and even millions of children are either stunted or overweight or have wasting across the world.[1],[2]

Moreover, despite the known benefits of breastfeeding for decades, together for both the mother and the child, only 35% of infants are exclusively breastfed for the recommended period, which from another angle suggest that heath stakeholders are losing the opportunity to save the lives of 0.8 million under-5 children each year, which can be accomplished by just ensuring optimal breastfeeding.[1],[3] In fact, various actions have been taken and strategies have been implemented to safeguard, encourage, and advocate breastfeeding, such as sanctioning longer period of leaves to the postnatal mother, banning promotion and advertisement of all forms of breast milk substitutes, implementing provisions of baby-friendly hospital initiatives in all hospitals, extending counseling session to encourage continuation of breastfeeding at all possible levels of contact, and lobbying community support through creation of mother support groups and community-based health promotion activities.[2],[3],[4]

Furthermore, as the child attains 6 months of age, the need for energy and nutrients exceeds beyond what is being provided by breast milk, and hence complementary foods should be introduced.[1] However, on-demand breastfeeding should be continued till the child becomes 2 years of age, responsive feeding should be encouraged; proper hygiene has to be maintained; a gradual increase in the number of meals, variety, and food consistency should be done; and fortified foods should be promoted to improve the outcome of complementary feeding.[2],[3],[5]

In addition, it is extremely important to support and give additional attention to infants in vulnerable categories, which include HIV-positive or adolescent mothers, malnourished child, families exposed to humanitarian emergencies, and the like.[1],[2]

The international stakeholders have come up with a global strategy to improve infant and young child feeding, and the strategy recommends the need for formulation of a comprehensive national policy based on the local contexts, organize training sessions for health professionals to improve their skills and knowledge pertaining to breastfeeding and complementary feeding, ensure that all mothers have access to skilled care to initiate and maintain exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended period, and even advocated for the legal provisions to discourage breast milk substitutes.[1],[4],[5]

To conclude, there is an immense need to improve the proportion of infants and young child who are optimally breastfed and timely started on complementary feeding as well. However, to improve the existing trend and to reduce the burden on the health system, the need of the hour is to act in a concerted manner through the support and active involvement of all stakeholders.

Acknowledgment

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Infant young child feeding-Fact sheet N 342 2016. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs342/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Jun 9].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Reinbott A, Jordan I. Determinants of child malnutrition and infant and young child feeding approaches in Cambodia. World Rev Nutr Diet 2016;115:61-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]    
3.
Gautam KP, Adhikari M, Khatri RB, Devkota MD. Determinants of infant and young child feeding practices in Rupandehi, Nepal. BMC Res Notes 2016;9:135.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]    
4.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J, The Baby-friendly initiative: Foundation stone in ensuring exclusive breastfeeding. S Afr Fam Pract 2014;56:250-1.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Chaiken MS. Behaviour change communication in programmes to enhance infant and young child feeding: Lessons from the field. Matern Child Nutr 2016;12:191-2.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    

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Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196625

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