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India ahead of 20 nations on breastfeeding index

New Delhi, Dec 6, 2012, DHNS : 1:52 IST

Study was conducted in 51 countries

A report released by an international body on breastfeeding practices, puts India at 31 among 51 countries.

The report was released on Thursday by the Union minister of external affairs Salman Khurshid and Union minister of state for women and child development Krishna Tirath.

International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), which monitors and tracks the
implementation of the WHO’s Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, has compiled a report titled, “Are Our Babies Falling Through the Gaps: The State of Policies and Programme Implementation of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in 51 Countries.”

Khurshid said better health for children is an issue on which different sections in even the most contentious societies will not disagree.

The report scores each country on a scale of 10 and final score is given out of 100. Going by the score, India is at the 31st spot.

However, change seems to be on the way with the district Lalitpur project, demonstrating that increasing rates of optimal feeding is possible.

According to Tirath, the government of India is expanding the reach of its newly launched maternity protection scheme so that poor women can be provided with cash benefits.
Neighbouring nations, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan have made significant changes over these years and improved their ranking.

Nearly 2/3rd of the world’s children are born in the 51 countries in which this study was conducted by the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi). WBTi is a web based tool from IBFAN to measure inputs for increasing infant and young child feeding practices (IYCF).

The five countries that scored the highest are Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kenya, Malawi, and Nicaragua. The least scorers are Cape Verde, Taiwan, Indonesia, Mexico, and Egypt.

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