IYCF Practices To Improve Child Nutrition In Odisha Stressed At Media Workshop

Bhubaneswar: Health experts stressed on infant and young children feeding (IYCF) practices such as nutrition promotion and prevention of malnutrition, stunting, and wasting of children with the help of media.

They were speaking at a media workshop on “Accelerating IYCF including complementary foods and feeding practices to improve child nutrition and prevent malnutrition in Odisha” in Bhubaneswar. It was organised by CINI (Child in Need Institute), an organisation working for health, nutrition, child protection and development of children in India with technical support from UNICEF.

Dr Sunil Kumar Agarwalla, Professor, SCB Medical College & Hospital, said, “The first 1000 days from the time of pregnancy till 2 years are crucial time to provide quality life to a baby. Adequate nutrition during this time is essential to ensure the growth, health, and development of the child to its full potential.”

“Mix feeding should be avoided and no milk should be given to babies other than mother’s milk for the first 6 months as mother’s milk helps in both physical and mental development of the child. Also 400 IU of Vitamin D has to be given to each baby till 1 year of age,” he added.

Explaining the role of media in nutrition promotion, Radhika Shrivastava, Communication Advocacy and Partnership Specialist, UNICEF, said, “People’s trust in media has eventually increased, so media is the only source by which success stories can be described through media reports to emphasize IYCF practices at the grass root level. Media can work proactively by using examples of positive exclusive breastfeeding stories of a mother and by packaging the information through human interest stories, which can also motivate other mothers at the grassroots level.”

Sourav Bhattacharjee, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, said, “India is home to one-third of the 156 million stunting children which makes India the global capital of stunting. Therefore, we need to focus on the critical factors of IYCF practices including early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and introduction of complementary foods at the age of six months along with mother milk and proper hygiene practices.”

To combat child malnutrition, Odisha government in partnership with UNICEF and CINI initiatives has been taken by various flagship programs. With evidence from the pilot initiative, 10,689 AWCs across 50 blocks of four high burden districts of Odisha (Koraput, Keonjhar, Nabarangpur and Rayagada) were covered from July 2018 to Jan 2021.Various occasions like Ankur Divas, Annaprasan Day or Godbharie Day, Special Counseling Session, and VHSND at the AWC level are useful for feeding demonstration, whereas household-level counseling is more impactful.

Swapan Bikash Saha, Director, CINI also spoke while Saswati N Mohapatra, SPM and Dr Mitali Mohanty, SBCC & CBO from CINI facilitated the workshop.