New mothers will be taught to breastfeed their infants at 25 breastfeeding clinics to be set up in 13 districts.
The objective is to reduce neonatal and infant mortality, eliminate malnutrition and ensure a healthy future for the mother and child, said Devendra Agarwal, an adviser to the state health department for Aanchal Mother’s milk bank project. He said that mother’s milk is the cheapest option to reduce infant mortality rate.
“By the end of this fiscal, 25 clinics will be set up in 13 districts where there is high delivery load,” Agarwal told HT.
Apart from breastfeeding facilitation, counselling and training, these clinics will also assist and treat lactating mothers. The project will cost approximately Rs 2 crore and will be borne by the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Ltd (RIICO).
Agarwal said that once a woman gives birth, she will be immediately shifted to a breastfeeding clinic to ensure that the baby gets mother’s milk within an hour and trained staff will teach her how to hold the baby and feed.
“These efforts can help reduce infant mortality rate by 22%, survival of newborns can be increased by six-fold and recovery of neonates in Sick Newborn Care Unit will be 40% faster,” he said.
General Nursing and Midwifery/Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery (GNM/ANM) staff working in hospitals will be appointed for the breastfeeding clinic program for round the clock and early initiation of breastfeeding (EIBF). “Their responsibility is to start breastfeeding soon after birth. Paediatricians will be appointed as the nodal officer for the smooth functioning of the clinic,” he said.
The official said these clinics will also be helpful for mothers who have a premature delivery, newborns unable to suck because of cleft lips, retracted nipple, non-formation of milk etc.
Breastfeeding clinics will also counsel and train family members of the new mother to not give honey, water, ghutti etc for first six months to the baby.
At present, breastfeeding clinics are at district hospitals and also have mothers’ milk banks at Bharatpur, Alwar, Chittorgarh, Beawar, Banswara, Bhilwara, Bundi, Tonk, Baran, Churu, Udaipur and Jaipur. At these districts, breastfeeding clinics will be opened at two places each where there is high delivery load along with a clinic in Sirohi district.
Breastfeeding clinics at 10 mothers’ milk banks have provided its service to 26,672 mothers from January to November this year.